A new photo has surfaced that appears to show a new variant of the Changhe Aircraft Industries Corporation (CAIC) Z-8 multirole medium-lift helicopter, according to Scramble Magazine report.
The image of a new helicopter was recently leaked onto a Chinese military forum. Reports suggested that the new platform is a “wide-body” variant of Z-8 helicopter and called the Z-8L. The basic Z-8 family has been in service since the early 1980s.
The Z-8L helicopter appears to share some similarity with the American S-92 featuring large sponsons (external fuel tanks) on both sides of the fuselage. Consequently, its internal cargo space has been largely increased.
The Z-8L can be configured as a tactical troop transporter, an anti-submarine warfare helicopter, or a search and rescue or combat search and rescue (SAR and CSAR) helicopter.
Chinese source also reported that a wide-body variant of Z-8 flew for the first time at the end of 2017.
Although still no detailed view is available, it is clear that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Army Aviation Corps is testing this new Z-8L.