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Singapore Airshow 2024: China debuts Z-10ME attack helicopter for export market

The Z-10ME, seen here at Singapore Airshow 2024. (Janes/Ridzwan Rahmat)

Beijing's state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) is marketing an export variant of its Changhe Aircraft Industries (Group) Company Z-10 attack helicopter at Singapore Airshow 2024.

Dubbed as the Z-10 ME, the helicopter is being shown overseas for the first time, an AVIC representative who spoke to Janes at the airshow has confirmed.

The airframe is being positioned for customers in the Southeast Asian and Middle East regions, and features modifications that will make it more suitable to perform close-in fire-support operations for ground troops, the representative added.

Among the major modifications is the helicopter's engine air intakes, which have been modified to better suit sandy and dusty operating conditions typically found in the tropical climates. This is achieved with air intake filters designed specifically for the Z-10ME, said the representative.

In addition to this, the Z-10ME has been modified to reduce its vulnerability to manportable surface-to-air missiles. This is primarily achieved by redirecting exhaust gases from its engines upwards, instead of sideways, and the incorporation of missile warning sensors and countermeasure systems.

Besides these enhancements, the Z-10ME has also been built for better survivability against small arms and surface-deployed close-in weapon systems. This is achieved by incorporating external armour plates at certain locations along cockpit's windows for crew protection, and on the engine cowlings.

To enhance its connectivity with other units, the ZM-10E can also be incorporated with satellite communication (satcom) antennas, which can be mounted on the aircraft's tail boom.

When asked about the capabilities of its rotor-mast-mounted radar, the AVIC representative declined to give further information citing confidentiality concerns.

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