Whether or not China copies the design of America’s Apache to manufacture the Z-10 helicopter?

China’s Z-10 attack helicopter emerged in 2003 as what could be seen as a rather transparent response to the wᴀʀ-tested and highly effective U.S. Apache helicopter. After all, the Z-10 does appear to have a number of similarities, which may not be by accident.

The Z-10 was recently used in a Chinese multi-domain amphibious assault drill wherein the land-based helicopters landed on and conducted missions from the deck of a Chinese Type 071 amphibious assault ship.

The assault helicopter was cited in a report from the Chinese government-backed Global Times newspaper as providing key support to the land-sea exercise and bringing an enhanced ability to conduct vertical ship-landing maneuvers and offer low-altitude supporting fire for advancing amphibious forces.

By virtue of being built with a sloping tandem cockpit, somewhat of a narrowed front end, underneath gun and wing-hanging external pylons, the Z-10 does clearly resemble the Apache, with a few differences.

Interestingly, several pictures of the Z-10 appear to raise the question as to whether the helicopter is a bit of a hybrid between two American designs. The Z-10 resembles both the Apache helicopter and Bell’s new, stealthy-looking Invictus Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft now being developed as part of the Army’s Future Vertical Lift program.

Developing this thought a little further, it does not seem surprising that the Global Times report would quote an analyst describing the Z-10 as possibly having somewhat stealthy characteristics.

“At least one Z-10 attack helicopter featured in the drills is the latest, upgraded variant with upwᴀʀd-facing exhaust openings, which are expected to reduce the chopper’s infrared signals and make it harder to target,” the paper writes.

The Z-10’s exhaust and side structures appear to be conformal and rounded in what could easily be seen as an attempt to increase stealth characteristics. The exhaust also does look horizontal, if not upwᴀʀd facing, as the report explains.

The Apache, while a highly cherished and successful helicopter slated to fly for decades to come, was not designed as a stealthy platform. The top of its fuselage is rectangular and much more angled than Invictus.

Bell’s Invictus, however, has a smoother, more circular or rounded top in what could easily be seen as a deliberate effort to lower its radar signature. Less angled and more rounded structures, particularly ones that show a more horizontal blended body, generate a different and less detectable radar return signal. The Invictus also includes a moveable internal weapons bay and visibly conformal exhaust as well.

Moreover, the Z-10 fuselage looks more rounded and dome-like, in a manner that could be compared to Bell’s Invictus. Also, both the Invictus and the Z-10 have a more rounded back end. Interestingly, the rounded center of the back end of the Z-10 could almost be likened to a stealth fighter as it is a rounded shape blending the sides and body together.

What all of this may amount to is that yes, the Z-10 does look like an “Apache rip off” in many key respects, while also seeming to reveal several initial steps towᴀʀd engineering a stealthier helicopter.

Of course, a few apparent external similarities between the Invictus and the Z-10 do not in any way mean the platforms are comparable to any extent. Bell’s Invictus is engineered to bring a new technical paradigm into attack-reconnaissance helicopter operations well into the 2030s and beyond. It could be said, at least to an observer’s naked eye, that the Z-10 could look like a bridge of sorts towᴀʀd the age of stealth helicopters. If one were to simply speculate, it could be that the Z-10 more closely resembles an upgraded Apache in terms of performance.

Related Posts

The Legacy of the Flying Wings: Forgotten Ancestors of the B-2 Spirit

The innovative and potentially very effective flying wing design, in which the tail section and fuselage are deleted and all payload is carried in a thick wing,…

Unleashing the Dragon: Exploring the Dominance of China’s First Aircraft Carrier, the Liaoning

The Liaoning Aircraft Carrier still retains much of the layout of its predecessor. Her hull is treated to resist metal corrosion and repainted. Introduce In a relatively…

Drones агmу аttасk Helicopter – Will be агmed with full function to the teeth in the new version

The ʋersatility of a longer, мultifunction payload Ƅay seeмs quite ѕіɡпіfісапt, as it enaƄles the possiƄle use of a wide range of weарoпѕ and supports the launch…

Meet The SR-71 Blackbird: The Fastest Air-Breathing Aircraft Ever

How the SR-71 Becaмe the Fastest Plane in the World: The Lockheed Martin SR-71 BlackƄird (or, as its aircrew мeмƄers haʋe duƄƄed it, the HaƄu, after a pit ʋiper indigenous to…

Bell H-1 military aircraft surpass 400,000 flight hours

The H-1 мixed fleet of AH-1Z Viper and UH-1Y Venoм attack and utility helicopters haʋe accuмulated мore than 400,000 joint-flight hours. Designed Ƅy Bell Textron Inc., a…

The MQ-28A Ghost Bat, an unmanned combat aerial vehicle produced by Boeing in Australia, has been given its official name

Boeing Australia congratulates the Australian Goʋernмent and Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) on their selection of ‘MQ-28A Ghost Bat’ as the мilitary designator and naмe for the…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *