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China's Z-20 helicopter enters armed police service, offers mobility in anti-terrorist missions

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China's Z-20 helicopter enters armed police service, offers mobility in anti-terrorist missions
Liu Xuanzun
03:18 Feb 22 2022
Pilots assigned to an army aviation brigade under the PLA 76th Group Army maintain their helicopters in nearly motionless flight over a reference point at an ultra-low altitude before lifting off for a flight training exercise on January 5, 2022.Photo:China Military

Pilots assigned to an army aviation brigade under the PLA 76th Group Army maintain their helicopters in nearly motionless flight over a reference point at an ultra-low altitude before lifting off for a flight training exercise on January 5, 2022.Photo:China Military
The Z-20, China's latest domestically developed tactical utility helicopter, is now in service with the Chinese People's Armed Police (PAP) Force, together with the larger, plateau-operable Z-8G transport helicopter, and this will enhance the mobility and flexibility of the armed police in tasks including anti-terrorist, disaster relief and emergency rescue missions, analysts said on Monday.

A detachment affiliated with the second mobile corps of the PAP recently organized multiple realistic combat-oriented drills featuring combat sorties and formation flights of helicopters, with the aim of honing the pilots' skills and their capability in coordinated combat, the PAP announced in a statement released on its WeChat social media account last week.

According to images attached to the statement, the helicopters involved in the drills are Z-20s and Z-8Gs.

This is the first time the Z-20 helicopter has made an appearance in service with the PAP, following its public debut at the National Day military parade on October 1, 2019 in Beijing in the colors of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Army, observers noted.

The PAP version of the Z-20 looks very similar to the PLA Army version, but it is painted in olive green and with Chinese characters for "armed police," eastday.com, a Shanghai-based news website, reported on Sunday.

It is not surprising to see the Z-20 in service with the PAP, since it is designed to be a 10 ton-class utility helicopter capable of carrying out different tasks, a Chinese military expert who requested anonymity told the Global Times on Monday.

Deng Jinghui, chief designer at the China Helicopter Research and Development Institute of the state-owned Aviation Industry Corp of China, told China Central Television (CCTV) in November 2020 that he expects the Z-20 to serve not only in the PLA Army, but also in the Air Force, the Navy, the PAP, and even the international market.

Deng said that he hopes the Z-20, China's fourth-generation helicopter that represents the country's highest technological level, will become the helicopter type with the highest production amount in the country and remain in service for a long time.

The Z-8G, the other type of helicopter featured in the recent PAP exercises, is a 13 ton-class transport helicopter based on the original Z-8 helicopter and designed to be capable of operating in high-altitude regions, the eastday.com report said.

It is also a new-type helicopter, having made its debut at the 5th China Helicopter Exposition held in North China's Tianjin in October 2019 as an item of PLA Army equipment. The Z-8G was revealed in service with the PAP in May 2021, when CCTV reported on an earthquake relief drill in which the PAP participated, eastday.com said.

Both the Z-20 and the Z-8G are characterized by their strong cargo capacity, rapid movement and ability to maneuver in complex terrain and environments including plateaus, the expert said.

With the advanced Z-20 and Z-8G in the arsenal of the PAP, it has gained enhanced mobility and flexibility in tasks including anti-terrorist, disaster relief and emergency rescue missions, the expert said.
 

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