China has confirmed the induction of its newest utility helicopter, the Z-20, into the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) service, reported Global Times on Tuesday.
The medium-lift helicopter made its public debut at the National Day military parade held in Beijing on October 1 in celebration of the 70th founding anniversary of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
The Z-20 bears a strong resemblance to the American S-70/UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter family and is alleged to be developed from the Sikorsky S-70C-2 helicopter. China acquired 24 S-70C-2s, equipped with GE T700-701A engines for improved high-altitude performance, in the 1980s for operations in the mountainous western region.
China’s Ministry of National Defense confirmed the development of the Z-20 in December 2013 after the chopper’s first test flight was spotted in northeastern China. Many images of the Z-20 have surfaced on the internet since then.
The helicopter is expected to be used for various missions, including personnel and cargo transport, search and rescue, reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare. For the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), it could fill the role of a multi-role naval helicopter small enough to be interoperable across all of its helicopter-capable vessels.