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Photo of new Harbin Z-20 China medium lift helicopter

Posted by Dylan Malyasov on

The Harbin Z-20 or Zhi-20 is a medium lift helicopter produced in the Northeast of China. Its first flight was on 23 December 2013. The helicopter has a maximum takeoff weight in the range of 10 tons, can drop troops at locations of up to 3,000 ft (910 m) altitude, and could operate form the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning.

It is thought to be comparable to the US made Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, the civilian Sikorsky S-70C-2 variant of which has been used by the People’s Liberation Army since 1984. Some sources suggest that the Z-20 is in fact a close copy of the Black Hawk and link the design to the Black Hawk that was abandoned by US special forces in Pakistan during the operation to kill Osama bin Laden on 1 May 2011.

The sources say that Pakistan allowed Chinese officials to examine the Black Hawk wreckage. However, Aviation Week also points out that although some aspects of the design do appear similar, such as the tail wheel arrangement, there are also marked differences. For example, the Chinese Z-20 has a five blade rotor compared with the Black Hawks’ four blades.

Z - 20  medium lift helicopter
Z – 20 medium lift helicopter

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