Update: Images show wide-body variant of Z-8G helicopter undergoing load-carrying trials

by Andreas Rupprecht

The first clear images of the wide-body variant of the Changhe Aircraft Industry Group (CAIG) Z-8G medium-lift helicopter have emerged on Chinese social media sites showing that People’s Liberation Army Ground Force (PLAGF) personnel have been involved in undertaking trials with the platform.

Several photographs of the variant, which is being commonly referred to as the Z-8L, were released on 17 August via the Weixin social media page of the ‘Chinese Weapon Tests’ website, and show the rotorcraft being used to carry an underslung 6×6 all-terrain vehicle during what appeared to be external load-carrying capability trials.

A screengrab from CCTV footage showing the wide-body variant of the CAIG Z-8G medium-lift helicopter shortly before undertaking load-carrying trials with the all-terrain vehicle seen next to it. (Via cctv.com)

A screengrab from CCTV footage showing the wide-body variant of the CAIG Z-8G medium-lift helicopter shortly before undertaking load-carrying trials with the all-terrain vehicle seen next to it. (Via cctv.com)

The images – the first high-resolution ones to emerge showing the complete helicopter – were taken at an undisclosed location in China’s eastern Jiangxi Province, with the website stating in a news article that the tests were carried out “recently”.

The helicopter, which was shown bearing PLA insignia and painted in Army Aviation camouflage, has serial number ‘PT02’ written on its tail boom, suggesting that this is the second prototype of this variant to have been built.

Compared with the Z-8G, which has been in PLA Army Aviation service since early 2018, the Z-8L has much longer external sponsons on both sides of the fuselage. Moreover, unverified Chinese media reports claim that the internal width of the load area has been increased from 1.8–2.4 m.

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The first clear images of the wide-body variant of the Changhe Aircraft Industry Group (CAIG) Z-8G m...

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