Armed Z-20 Helicopter Revealed in Official Report

Armed Z-20 Helicopter Revealed in Official Report

An armed variant of China’s independently developed Z-20 utility helicopter has made its first official appearance. In a report published Monday by the PLA Daily, one of the two Z-20s pictured has distinct features like an electro-optical sensor replacing the radome and external wings likely intended to carry weapons stations.

Missiles and Rockets Teased Earlier

This conforms to a computer-generated model promoted by Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) in January 2022 depicting a Z-20 variant with short wings, each carrying four missiles and a rocket launcher. Analysts had concluded then that an armed Z-20 version was underway.

Also read this: CCG-PLA Joint Operation Near Taiwan Aims to Deter

Multipurpose Platform

“The Z-20 is a great utility platform that can give rise to many variants, and an armed variant is a logical progression to provide escort during armed assault missions,” a Chinese military expert told the Global Times. Beijing-based editor Wang Ya’nan said the original Z-20 was designed as a medium utility helicopter with diverse potential variants for specialized roles.

Future Refueling Capability

The AVIC concept art also showed the armed Z-20 with a refueling probe, though not visible in the latest photo. In 2022, chief designer Deng Jinghui stated the Z-20 could be upgraded to receive aerial refueling in the future.

Modular, Versatile Design

Analysts assess the Z-20’s modular design allows AVIC to develop multiple spin-off variants relatively easily for different mission roles like anti-submarine warfare, patrol, reconnaissance and armed assault support. More variants are expected based on this versatile platform.

Official confirmation of the Z-20 armed variant points to the helicopter’s modular, multirole design philosophy. With the baseline utility transport model already in PLA service, AVIC is pressing ahead with specialized versions like this weapons-capable configuration to expand the rotorcraft’s mission portfolio and increase its combat effectiveness to support Chinese military operations.

Keep connected with us at FacebookTwitterYouTubeInstagram & TikTok for latest defense happening around the globe.

© International Defence Analysis | All Rights Reserved