Military chopper gets go-ahead for export

Updated: 2015-09-10 06:46

By Zhao Lei(China Daily)

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Military chopper gets go-ahead for export

A WZ-19 helicopter is displayed at the Third China Helicopter Expo in Tianjin on Wednesday. JIA LEI/CHINA DAILY

For nations hoping to buy China's advanced weapons on display in the Sept 3 V-Day parade, here's some good news-China is ready to export one of its top military helicopters.

"The government has given the green light for the export of the WZ-19. Actually, some foreign buyers are in negotiations with us on the procurement of this helicopter," said Wu Ximing, chief helicopter designer at Aviation Industry Corp of China.

Wu spoke with China Daily on the sidelines of the Third China Helicopter Expo.

"We will adjust equipment or weapons based on each buyer's specific requirements. As a matter of fact, some potential buyers have been involved in the design of the WZ-19's export type," he said.

Wu declined to reveal identities of potential buyers, but hinted they are traditional users of Chinese aircraft.

"Compared with its rivals in the market, the WZ-19E is easier to operate and maintain. It has a strong capability, and its price is competitive," he said.

The aviation giant is displaying an export version of the WZ-19 reconnaissance/attack helicopter, which it calls the WZ-19E, at the five-day expo. An introduction board placed in front of the aircraft says it is a light-duty military helicopter used to conduct air-to-surface strike against tanks, armored vehicles and fortifications.

It can also carry air-to-air missiles to battle enemy helicopters, the introduction said.

Thirty WZ-19s from the aviation wing under the People's Liberation Army ground force took part in last week's parade, flying with two other types of military helicopters-the WZ-10 and WZ-9.

The WZ-19 design is based on the WZ-9, which has its origin in the French Eurocopter AS365 Dauphin, and will work with the medium-duty attack helicopter WZ-10 in combat operations, sources said.

Developed by AVIC's Harbin Aircraft Industry Group, the helicopter is propelled by four blades driven by two turboshaft engines.

It has a maximum cruise speed of 245 km per hour, a maximum takeoff weight of 4.51 metric tons and an operational range of 700 km, according to the Show Daily, an industry daily published during the expo by AVIC.

The helicopter can carry eight missiles and two rocket launchers. To protect its pilots, it is equipped with armor plating and crash-resistant seats.

"It will be attractive to many developing nations that don't have a big defense budget but want to deploy a usable attack helicopter," said Wu Peixin, an aviation observer in Beijing.