Monday, February 02, 2015

China's Z-10 Attack & Anti-Air Helicopter. via Alert 5.

Fast forward to the 2:50 mark.  The Z-10 is shown taking out an aerial target.  The Russians and USMC have played with the concept.  It remains to be seen how far the Chinese go.  


  1. I always thought that chopper is a copy of an AW129 Mangusta... But now it seems more modern than it.

    1. And why you think that it was a copy of AW129?

    2. Because it was the only attack helicopter that china evaluated in 80's ( understand that they certainly disassembled it ), perhaps at a deep level ( italy has great history in corruption, especialy aliena/Augusta Westland).
      When you look both, especialy when you look early Z10 prototypes, they looks very similar in key design points : you would have difficulties to know whichon fires on you at more than 500 meters

    3. You walk in the wrong direction, the first "prototype" was clearly based on Harbin Z-9 that is licence production from France. The China airspace industry in case of helos are strongly support by France from long time and it that cooperation and tech transfer you should look in analysis of WZ-10 not in Agusta/Westland. After this the new model of 10' is similar to many attack helos construction, it has more in common with Rooviak then AW129.

  2. Replies
    1. i find that very difficult to believe. the Z10 has none of the design characteristics that we've seen from any of their helicopters. as a matter of fact its totally foreign to anything they've even contemplated (from what I've seen).

      do you have proof?

    2. He is rights Sol' the first prototype was design by Kamov as "projekt 941" for Chinese in 1995.

    3. And that is the first time ever russians have said anything about official design envolvent.
      Imagine what further they could reveal about cooperation like this, the next thing that comes to mind is the L-15 trainer, designed by Yakovlev when they were cash stripped.

    4. Solomon

      Manufacturer Changhe Aircraft Industries Corporation (CAIC)
      Designer Kamov[1][2][3][4]

  3. Imho it looks more like the Aw129 than Rooivalk. However exterior appearence doesn't mean all that much, wepftensee chinese products that just looks too much the same a foreign product to be unintentional. Maybe if they see something that looks good, they want to have one of their own.

    Oh, about AgustaWestland corruption...

    The trial in India didn't even started too, AFAIK.It was just some poltical game.

    Often Italian prosecutors open cases just for fun, expecially when big companies are involved. We had a lot of cases like this, about Finmeccanica, Oil companies etc. Most of the time they don't get to the trial. There are prosecutors that like seeing their names on newspapers and try to do some career jump just on some vague allegation. In the mean time companies lose money and commissions.
    Not saying that Italy is not more corrupted that most western countries, becouse sadly it is. But this was not the case.

  4. As you said Solomon, others have played around with the idea. I seem to recall seeing Sidewinders on the weapons station on a AH-1Z. In the age of UAV's everywhere, it's a smart move.

  5. Anyone who fights Rotary Wing air to air in less than a high power compound is a fool.

    That is 90% of what made the pre-Comanche LHX (as ARTI) interesting because the companies who had not been instructed to stay conventional were willing to look at unconventional solutions. Tiltrotors (BAT), hybrid NOTARS (McDonnell Douglas 'Shark') and even straight up jet-VTOL (MP-18 Dragon) were all on the table as was the notion of single cockpit pilotage under advanced automation.


    Think about it. If you want to go forward in a conventional chopper you have to tilt the disk under cyclic and thus half your engine power goes from pushing a 6X3 foot shape through the air to pushing 15X30ft shape with a concomitant increase in drag. That increase in frontal area equates an equally enormous spike in visual and radar cross section which means anyone on the ground goes from a dot against the treeline to a distinctly trackable motion blur as those blades chew air and spit contrails (In Europe which is wet all the time).

    At the same time, all your forward firing and turret weapons as well as sensor turrets are pointing down and you can't shoot through your rotor disk (though door gunners can be 'rolled into index' which is one advantage of non-attack configured utility helicopters).

    If you are NOE you cannot gain speed until you gain height and as soon as you clear the horizon, any weapons which would have had a problem pulling you out of the clutter (which is to say virtually every Man Portable on the face of the planet) now can see you just fine.

    If you are in that NOE position because you are at a hide, waiting for the Scouts to call you up to firing positions when a sweep of Hinds in a 'troika' (sled) configuration of two low and one high come swooping over the treeline you think is masking you (they will also see the rotor swirl, this time in dust, and indeed /predict it/ based on advantaged position) you are dead from the YAK-1b and gun, let alone the GSh-23 or rockets which the trailing flight lead will gladly fire down on you based on his wingman _no radio_ peeling away from the beaten ground.

    If, by some great some great miracle, flying around in you tin plate top, you survive the first pass, you now get to rise up _right in the face of the threat ADV_ and play the game of "Higher, higher! Who can go higher, first!" Which is inevitably won by the SA-8/9/13/15/19. Not to mention 20 men in the back of the BMP with training to use the SA-14/16 twhich is usually stashed there.

    At a time when we were seriously considering an Air To Air version of the FOG-M as well as the ADSM variant of the Stinger (think land-RAM) the one thing that made sense about LHX was the ability to be LO-enough to get out of the weeds and provide long-slant sensorization. Of course, then we went back to a 'no more than 20 knots faster than Apache' Penny-Farthing configuration and cancelled FOG-M without explanation. At the same time TAS was changed from a standoff aid with monster resolution far better than TADS. To a 'faster than the 2s6 engagement cycle can lock-on' snapshot system, functioning like a rapid scan IRLS. And it became obvious that composites and RAM or no, you couldn't hide the rotor Doppler from a hovering helo well enough to protect the chopper above the trees.

  6. Which meant that there was no across-clutter ability to protect the Apache or Sleds from being where they were predictable in the JAAT team tactics. Even as the lone recce helo itself became a signature cue to the presence of attack aviation.

    As further reinforcement to the 'conventional ACM with 130mph RW assets is dumb as getting drunk on Draino', when the Marines tested the various ACM possibilities with a range of 'borrowed' helicopters from the civilian world, they found themselves getting routinely trounced by the likes of not just H-500/530 class (light and tight with incredible powerloading). But also S-76, A-109 and Bell 222. All of which had enormous advantages in terms of clean aeros and no 'nose heavier than the Ayatollah' problems converting high cruise speeds to brief altitude excursions from which dominant fires with rocket and cannon pods (the H-76 Eagle was especially good at this, with the better engines) could make mince meat of airframes that were either struggling with weight growth on engines designed in the early 70s, still running on teetering rotors. Or both.

    AH-1 and AH-64 got their assets kicked and most importantly, the OH-58 AHIP with the ATAS which was -supposed- to ride shotgun for tem (in addition to finding ground targets and scouting the forward lay of the land) was itself found to be too damn slow and lacking in rapid onset sighting packages to cue the Stingers in time to be useful on these threats.

    One needs only look at the S-67 and AH-56 to see what was better done, in the 60s than 'modern technology' can as yet come up with. Climb nose high. Terrain follow with a fixed power setting 'skiing the cushion'. Maintain a high rate of onset as escape vector in -tangential- approaches to defended frontages with down-look optimized sensors pointed on by 'barber chair' CPG sight lead-in rather than clumsy electro mechanical HMDS or forced collision lead trying to bring slow-turning ATGW sights into FOV.

    If you're going to fight a threat helicopter, keep your nose pointed straight into lag and provided you have a turret weapon, nothing he does can hurt you before you kill him.

  7. Probably the biggest don't-go-there conditional illustration of the folly of Red Baron air combat in a Beanie Prop airframe came from the Iran/Iraq war when both sides, trying to horde their strategic airpower assets to hold as a constant threat of continued gas or oil infrastructure attacks, found that they could not survivably bring helicopters in to duel with each other over frontal air defenses. Iraq instead adopted PC-7 and later PC-9 turbo trainers and Iran went straight to the PC-9 with very low level terrain following followed by brief popups in areas where observers reported helicopter activity, on both sides of the FLOT.

    Iranian AH-1J internationals went from bagging multiple Hinds with ambush set TOW and M197 fire (while losing just as many to the bigger helos speed and heavy rocket loads) to running like scalded cats because the energy vs. angles fighter game constantly put them in a losers condition of not being able to roll off that teetering rotor to take snapshots as the Iraqi aircraft disk-topped them and then cut the circle to come down the other side.

    This proved so successful that both the U.S. (LCBAA = Low Cost Battlefield Attack Aircraft) and Britain (SABA = Small Agile Battlefield Attack Aircraft) gave serious thought to a low rent 'Mudfighter', specifically for anti-helo work.

    This being active as late as 1988 with the Soviet/WarPac threat all but dead in their tracks.

    Today, things are different. The lack of market in dedicated SCAT as opposed to converted UTIL platforms has lead to a lot of gunshyness from old standby primes on creating new technology bases, as has the enormous cost of integrated fire control and ICNIA systems to equip them. High leverage propulsion like the X-2/Raider points towards medium UH replacements for the UH-60 and H-92 concepts instead of follow-ons to the massive CH-47/53. And so the question becomes what kind of -modular- payload options can you install on these large internal volume platforms while retaining the base economics of a much larger liason and light utility market attachment to the civilian world?

  8. The obvious answer is internal carriage of variable weapons loads (lo/no weapons wing drag), highly effective MAWS/GFAS alerting systems and DIRCM/EXCM suppressors to maintain safe flight outside the weeds. High speed to enable larger areas to be patrolled. And _dropfire drones_ to serve an AMUST/ALERT level 'hounds before the horse' (foxhunter term for lower risk to overrun of the target which slips away from the side of The Hunt) as a means to cheapen surveillance optics and provide some degree of kamikaze KDAR-PAB/Harpy SEAD suppression via a network capability which literally snowplows reconnaissance well ahead of (over the horizon from) the recce asset.

    Such a system would have seen the multiple Iraqi forces hiding on the rooftops with HMG during the 2003 ambush of the 101st airborne AH-64 battalion at Najaf for instance.

    When you think in this manner, making your eyes into literally killer scouts, the notion of an air to air mission for them becomes not unreasonable, even if it has to be 1-in-20 which is launched from the cargo pay of the chopper with a tracking capable sensor to complete the kill chain which the swarm targets on.

    Comparatively, the efficacy of an air to air, non sensor cued, shoulder fire missile becomes rather laughable, just on range alone. The Z-10 has to acquire the target to kill it and if the threat is 8-10 miles behind it's own security screen of drones, that's a 4:1 range deficit it cannot readily make up, in weight class.

    In this, The Chinese, via their mad rush to copy everything Western, are forcing themselves down the same path to reasoned understanding only through direct experience that we have already gone down ourselves. And this repeated wheel invention theme is what will hopefully delay them long enough to let us get our own Hunting Weapons, AHM and DEWS alternatives online and doctrinally established within small operational groups which leverage the much larger, much less AvLeak secure formations.

  9. See, I told you guys a while back that the origins of this chopper are as twisted as a James Bond movie with international intrigue and interest written all over it. And yes...this has part contibutions of all the usual suspects- Russia, France, Italy and I think even the USA...though I am hard pressed to find any concrete articles and proof or direction to back the US claim.


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