Z-20


delft

Brigadier
Huitong has a post on the Z-20 helicopter said to replace the Mi-17:
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A new "general helicopter" in 10t class has been under development at 602/Changhe since late 90s. It appears to be based on American S-70C currently still in service with PLA. However the project was delayed by the development of high priority Z10 attack helicopter. Similar to Z-10, the helicopter also suffered several setbacks due to certain technical/political obstacles, such as obtaining a suitable engine (initially Canadian PT6C-76C, later WZ-9?) as well as developing a new transmission system (with Eurocopter assistance). The project (now designated as Z-20) finally gained full speed after Z-10 was put into production in 2010. The first prototype was rumored to have rolled down the assembly line in December 2012. First flight is expected in 2013. Z-20 is expected to replace eventually the large number of Russian Mi-17 series in service with the Army Aviation.
Mi-17 is considerably larger than S-70 so this comparison of them seem somewhat odd. I would think that both might be used as Mi-17 was said to go in production in China ( How is that getting on? ).
 

Totoro

Captain
VIP Professional
It actually would make sense for PLA to use a 4 ton, 7-8 ton, 10-11 ton and 14-15 ton helicopters at the same time. We're not talking about today or even in five years time, but a more distant future. 4 tons would be z9 or its successor, 7-8 ton would be z15, 10-11 ton can be z20 and 14-15 can be some further variant of z8 or its successor.

Currently PLA uses so many mi17 class helos not because it needs exactly such helicopters, but because there were no other options. z9 was clearly too small for a good deal of uses, z8 had issues and wasn't available in greater numbers until in recent years. mi17 was literally the only other choice on the whole market, domestic and abroad. Hence its disproportionally high numbers. mi17 might have been too much of a helicopter for a good deal of missions, but there was nothing else in between of it and z9.

Of course, now with z15, z20 and further z8 variants looming, future of mi17 seems limited. Sure, many will be serving still within 15-20 years time, simply because there are a lot of recent builds, but as the whole helicopter fleet grows, ratio of mi17 in it will diminish.
 

cn_habs

Junior Member
It actually would make sense for PLA to use a 4 ton, 7-8 ton, 10-11 ton and 14-15 ton helicopters at the same time. We're not talking about today or even in five years time, but a more distant future. 4 tons would be z9 or its successor, 7-8 ton would be z15, 10-11 ton can be z20 and 14-15 can be some further variant of z8 or its successor.

Currently PLA uses so many mi17 class helos not because it needs exactly such helicopters, but because there were no other options. z9 was clearly too small for a good deal of uses, z8 had issues and wasn't available in greater numbers until in recent years. mi17 was literally the only other choice on the whole market, domestic and abroad. Hence its disproportionally high numbers. mi17 might have been too much of a helicopter for a good deal of missions, but there was nothing else in between of it and z9.

Of course, now with z15, z20 and further z8 variants looming, future of mi17 seems limited. Sure, many will be serving still within 15-20 years time, simply because there are a lot of recent builds, but as the whole helicopter fleet grows, ratio of mi17 in it will diminish.
I totally agree.

Z-9 isn't suitable for ASW missions but this rumoured bigger and modern Z-20 could replace imported Ka-31 and become PLAN's SH-60 Seahawk.
 

Franklin

Captain
This project will likely be linked with the WZ-16 turboshaft engine (1500 kW/1800 shp) jointly developed with France. China is finally taking helicopter development, production and operation seriously. This probably has to do with the 2008 Sichuan earthquake where the PLA found it difficult to muster enough helicopters and airlift capacity for the rescue effort. Since then China has made significant investments in these area's. We have seen the AC-313, WZ-19, WZ-10 being tested or inducted and China has purchased and licence build large numbers of Mi-17 Hips as well. On the airlift side China has inducted the Y-9 transporter, is buying second hand Il-76 and is developing the Y-20. Helicopter production will be a growth industry in China in the years to come.
 

MwRYum

Captain
Z-20 or to be more exact, Chinese version of the S-70, has been around for a long time, so until there's an actual unit in flight, I won't hold my breath.

It actually would make sense for PLA to use a 4 ton, 7-8 ton, 10-11 ton and 14-15 ton helicopters at the same time. We're not talking about today or even in five years time, but a more distant future. 4 tons would be z9 or its successor, 7-8 ton would be z15, 10-11 ton can be z20 and 14-15 can be some further variant of z8 or its successor.

Currently PLA uses so many mi17 class helos not because it needs exactly such helicopters, but because there were no other options. z9 was clearly too small for a good deal of uses, z8 had issues and wasn't available in greater numbers until in recent years. mi17 was literally the only other choice on the whole market, domestic and abroad. Hence its disproportionally high numbers. mi17 might have been too much of a helicopter for a good deal of missions, but there was nothing else in between of it and z9.

Of course, now with z15, z20 and further z8 variants looming, future of mi17 seems limited. Sure, many will be serving still within 15-20 years time, simply because there are a lot of recent builds, but as the whole helicopter fleet grows, ratio of mi17 in it will diminish.
The honest truth is that Z-9 is too small and light for practical military ops, other than SAR and recon, but the former can be better performed by bigger birds (larger payload, more loiter time and range) and latter now increasingly UAV domain. That leaves Z-9 better suited for air ambulance or police helicopter kind of work, which its origin, Eurocopter AS365 Dauphin, predominantly used in such roles and capacities.

Now, if the Z-20 project bears fruit that'd leave the Z-15 with a more uncertain future - though its size means the current generation of helicopter-operating surface combatants, with the exception of aircraft carrier and LPDs, only fits for Z-15, that can be amended in next generation's line of DDGs/FFGs, but that might translate the naval variant of the Z-15 a limited fleet with expected service life of 15-20 years (that goes by current fleet's size and expected lifespan); army and air force might pick Z-20 en masse provided it meet the highland operation requirement, which now only the Mi-17-V7, for the sake of streamline its helicopter fleet.

The carrying capacity (volume, not weight wise) in the likes of Mi-17 series and Z-8 means they still holds unique advantage, it'll be a matter of up-engine and avionics to keep them in the game, though their older variants will eventually have to give way to Z-15 or Z-20.

If Z-20 won the lion share in the military market, Z-15 will need to rely on civilian market, a potential gold mine forecast by industry's experts in 10 years time, when the "open sky" roadmap is fulfilled.

Helicopter production will be a growth industry in China in the years to come.
2008's Sichuan earthquake was a rude wake-up call for China, on how inadequate they are in terms of helicopters and heavy airlift capabilities. That's why Y-20 got green light in that year. Helicopters doesn't get as much limelight but with Z-19 and Z-10 now progressing into serial production phase, the R&D capacities should have been transferred towards new helicopters.
 
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Franklin

Captain
There is another thread where it is asked why China hasn't copied the Black Hawk helicopters yet. Well, here it is then the Z-20. Do you think that Sikorski in America is going to sue ?

egrUL.jpg
 
There is another thread where it is asked why China hasn't copied the Black Hawk helicopters yet. Well, here it is then the Z-20. Do you think that Sikorski in America is going to sue ?

View attachment 7399
Sometimes "imitation is the most sincere form of flattery" -(dwight schute) is true. I won't try to call it copy/ ripoff(whatever terms the bashers use), but rather that Sikorsky "should be" proud their legacy flagship product was chosen as the basis/shell to which China develops its own, like how the Flanker airframe was.

And let's be honest. the Black Hawk is actually one of the nicest looking military choppers out there.
 

Lion

Senior Member
2008's Sichuan earthquake was a rude wake-up call for China, on how inadequate they are in terms of helicopters and heavy airlift capabilities. That's why Y-20 got green light in that year. Helicopters doesn't get as much limelight but with Z-19 and Z-20 now progressing into serial production phase, the R&D capacities should have been transferred towards new helicopters.
2008 Sichuan Earthquake is never the wake up call for Y-20. Y-20 is long planned in PLAAF doctrine, the failure of contract with Russia for additional 38 IL-76 speeds up Y-20 project. The wake up call is more for helo like Mi-26 as its versatile role and heavy lift are demonstrated.
 

rhino123

Pencil Pusher
VIP Professional
There is another thread where it is asked why China hasn't copied the Black Hawk helicopters yet. Well, here it is then the Z-20. Do you think that Sikorski in America is going to sue ?

View attachment 7399
Well... to a certain degree, all helicopter of a certain class is going to look alike each other... just like Samsung's smartphone look alike iphone.
 

MwRYum

Captain
There is another thread where it is asked why China hasn't copied the Black Hawk helicopters yet. Well, here it is then the Z-20. Do you think that Sikorski in America is going to sue ?

View attachment 7399
Typical patent last 25 years, that's why now plenty knock-off MP5 in the market but H&K could do nothing about it, except reminding everyone the good old "can't beat the real thing". UH-60/S-70 first introduced to China almost 30 years ago so go figure.

If so arises, Sikorsky can make a deal or sort with CATC of if and should pushing Z-20 into export market, it'd not step into markets that opens to Sikorsky...it's a shrinking list but there's still potential; in any case, Sikorsky is barred from China market by the embargo, so one less thing it could do about it.
 
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