Z-20


MwRYum

Captain
I am sure the first people that get shot at by this are going to stop and say "You cannot do that, it's a copy!!"
Probably the guy who "mistakenly" guide in a flight of Z-20s to the LZ, finally notice the oddities at the last minute when it got to hover position, close enough that in his NVG image can tell the "hey this is not Blackhawk" thing in his head, but before he could say "You cannot do that, it's a copy!!" or similar thing, he got cut in two at the waist by the leading Z-20's door mounted CS/LM5 12.7mm gatling...

But seriously, FOB or airfield type of LZ should have IFF gear setup to begin with...
 

Iron Man

Major
Registered Member
Correct it’s not binary however the reduction degree here is what I am saying.
F/A18E and Eurofighter drop the RCS by about 50% (F15EX makes no changes to the RCS of the Strike Eagle that was the F15SE concept which was terminated as in order to make a 50% reduction it needed to increase costs and maintenance to the point of diminished returns. Basically to reduce the Eagle or flanker RCS by 50% you would need to build a new fighter from the old components that would cost as much as a fifth gen to buy and maintain. ) for that roughly 50% they get RCS range reduction of only a third. So rather than being seen at 500 miles they are seen at 425 miles give or take. To get stealth where in the detection range is such that the aircraft and radar are virtually on top of each other for detection you need over 200 times the RCS reduction. The ratio is is not as clear cut either if you look at J20, F22 or F35 in primer you see a lot more than 10% is RAM and composite materials then there are changes to the mechanical components themselves the S intakes, Exhaust system and more.
Oh no, you said there is no such thing as semi-stealth helicopters, and you stated that there are "proper" stealth helicopters which by implication means the rest are non-proper. That sounds pretty binary to me.

Also, I have no idea where you are getting these numbers from, but it is extreme to ask for non-detection until the helo and the radar are "virtually on top of each other". So obviously somewhere in between. But then you (I mean you personally) don't actually know the costs associated with some minimal degree of stealth shaping or how much RCS reduction it would confer, so even if you were right about the degree of RCS reduction needed to achieve X km reduction in detection range, you are unable to meaningful rebut the general concept of a semi-stealthified helicopter based on an original non-stealthy helicopter.

By way of an example, here are the specs for the Comanche:

rah-66-art3f2.gif

Compared to the Kiowa the Comanche has a 263 times lower RCS; compared to the Apache it is 663 times lower. I'd say that's a fair degree better than your "200 times" RCS reduction requirement to have non-detection until the helo is right on top of the radar. Perhaps it is not as difficult as you are claiming to get some degree of RCS reduction in there without having to go "proper" stealth, whatever this means.
 

pipaster

Junior Member
Registered Member
Some positive Western press, no real news.

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The Harbin Z-20 helicopter will be employed for a number of missions across China’s military, according to a report in Beijing’s official China Daily.

The helicopter appeared in the 1 October military parade in Beijing to celebrate 70 years of communist rule in China, and closely resembles the Sikorsky S-70.

One major development, according to an AVIC official, is the type’s fly-by-wire controls.

This is rare on western helicopters, although the developmental Bell 525 Relentless has adopted the technology, as does the considerably bigger CH-53K King Stallion. Sikorsky’s experimental optionally-piloted UH-60A Black Hawk has also been retrofitted for full authority fly-by-wire.



The Z-20 made its public debut during 1 October military parade in Beijing

China Daily

The report quotes Li Linhua of AVIC’s Helicopter Research and Development Institute as saying that the Z-20 also offers a new anti-icing technology, though he gave no details.

The helicopter is also appearing on static display at the China Helicopter Exposition in Beijing.

"Air-enabled deployment of troops and weapons relies on utility helicopters such as the Z-20," the report quotes a retired defence researcher as saying.

"Besides conventional functions, they can also be equipped with weapons to conduct combat tasks. In addition to the Ground Force, the Z-20 will be useful in the PLA Air Force and PLA Navy as it is suitable for many tasks like search and rescue, special warfare and anti-submarine operations. It will be deployed in the military in large scale."
 

Bltizo

Lieutenant General
Staff member
Super Moderator
I'm pleasantly surprised that it really does seems to have a belly radar array as well as side/conformal arrays as suggested by the earlier more blurry pictures.

That's a different radar configuration to how most ASW helicopters go which have a single belly radar instead.
 

Totoro

Captain
VIP Professional
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Here's a quick try at identifying some of the features. Too bad we're not seeing the other side of the helicopter, there might be some interesting stuff there...

What I am missing is ESM sensors. I don't see any forward (unless they're behind the nose surface which looks like a radome) and i don't see any at the back, unless they're under two slightly differnt panels, one on the each side of the rear landing gear (Not marked in my image)

Of course, it may very well be that if this is a demo craft that certain systems like ESM are simply not fitted yet.

Here's some other observations: Radar, if fitted, should cover AT LEAST both sides and frontal sector. Ideally, it might also have 360 coverage but that may not be as important. But the way the two panels i labeled as possible side looking radar are positioned, there's no way they can properly cover the frontal sector. Which leads me to the assumption that the nose radome looking thing is exactly that - a radome covering a fully functional search radar. Certainly the big box behind the nose, visible through the small window, suggests there's a lot of electronics there.
Unlike SH-60, which doesn't feature a radar there and has the EO sensor up over the nose, the EO sensor seems to be placed below the radome on Z20F. Which would in theory leave enough space for a functioning radar.

Is the nose bigger than the one on utility Z20? Hard to tell for sure, but it does appear it might be. If so, it might house a proper search radar.

What is really weird though is the big side doors. Unlike on SH60, which has seemingly narrower door, this helo seems to feature the side door as wide as on the utility version. Which leaves no room for the weapon pylon. Due to distribution of mass, weapon pylons should very likely be just behind the door. Or in the space where the door will be when slid to the side, to keep them opened.

Is it possible weapon pylon will somehow be placed just below the door? Possibly, but i see no attachment point yet. And would that allow enough clearance? A more complicated pylon, going up and away from the fuselage, might be needed then.

I've no idea what the round thingy underside might be, which i labeled with questionmarks. It seems way too shallow to be a radar. And way too big for any sort of antenna, to be placed on the belly. Perhaps it might be some other kind of submarine hunting sensor, though, something that looks straight down.

The folding tail is nicely visible, as is the whole folding stabilator section. Also, while it's hard to tell and be sure, the whole fuselage to tail joint seems to be different from Z20 and less pronounced, with a smaller curve. Almost as if it's closer to UH60/SH60 with a tail underside sitting a bit lower than on regular Z20, with less of a joint curve.
 

Bltizo

Lieutenant General
Staff member
Super Moderator
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Here's a quick try at identifying some of the features. Too bad we're not seeing the other side of the helicopter, there might be some interesting stuff there...

What I am missing is ESM sensors. I don't see any forward (unless they're behind the nose surface which looks like a radome) and i don't see any at the back, unless they're under two slightly differnt panels, one on the each side of the rear landing gear (Not marked in my image)

Of course, it may very well be that if this is a demo craft that certain systems like ESM are simply not fitted yet.

Here's some other observations: Radar, if fitted, should cover AT LEAST both sides and frontal sector. Ideally, it might also have 360 coverage but that may not be as important. But the way the two panels i labeled as possible side looking radar are positioned, there's no way they can properly cover the frontal sector. Which leads me to the assumption that the nose radome looking thing is exactly that - a radome covering a fully functional search radar. Certainly the big box behind the nose, visible through the small window, suggests there's a lot of electronics there.
Unlike SH-60, which doesn't feature a radar there and has the EO sensor up over the nose, the EO sensor seems to be placed below the radome on Z20F. Which would in theory leave enough space for a functioning radar.

Is the nose bigger than the one on utility Z20? Hard to tell for sure, but it does appear it might be. If so, it might house a proper search radar.

What is really weird though is the big side doors. Unlike on SH60, which has seemingly narrower door, this helo seems to feature the side door as wide as on the utility version. Which leaves no room for the weapon pylon. Due to distribution of mass, weapon pylons should very likely be just behind the door. Or in the space where the door will be when slid to the side, to keep them opened.

Is it possible weapon pylon will somehow be placed just below the door? Possibly, but i see no attachment point yet. And would that allow enough clearance? A more complicated pylon, going up and away from the fuselage, might be needed then.

I've no idea what the round thingy underside might be, which i labeled with questionmarks. It seems way too shallow to be a radar. And way too big for any sort of antenna, to be placed on the belly. Perhaps it might be some other kind of submarine hunting sensor, though, something that looks straight down.

The folding tail is nicely visible, as is the whole folding stabilator section. Also, while it's hard to tell and be sure, the whole fuselage to tail joint seems to be different from Z20 and less pronounced, with a smaller curve. Almost as if it's closer to UH60/SH60 with a tail underside sitting a bit lower than on regular Z20, with less of a joint curve.
The ???? Should probably be a belly mounted radar.

The seahawk/MH-60R family has a single belly mounted radar, whereas Z-20F seems to have gone for a belly radar with two side looking radars. The size of the array protruding from all three arrays is about consistent and similar to what you may expect for an integrated conformal AESA system IMO. If we look at Lockheed's strap on vigilance AESA system it looks similar.

I also wouldn't say that it is typical to have a forward sector radar, as the primary ASW surface search radars on major ASW helicopters seem to be belly mounted rather than mounted forwards.
After all, having a circular coverage ventrally means you have 360 degree coverage when you're operating at mission altitude. A nose mounted radar means you have to fly more specialized mission patterns, from memory, which was always one of the issues that was described for the Z-9C.
 

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