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Chinese navy shows off new anti-submarine helicopter

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Chinese navy shows off new anti-submarine helicopter

  • State media carries footage showing a Z-20 taking off from a destroyer to mark the anniversary of the PLA Navy
  • The multipurpose helicopter has a broader range and can carry more weaponry than previous models


Published: 6:53pm, 23 Apr, 2022

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Footage of the helicopter in action. Photo: CCTV

China’s most modern anti-submarine helicopter has entered service, appearing in footage to mark the navy’s anniversary.

State broadcaster CCTV aired the footage – which shows a Z-20 helicopter taking off from the deck of a Type 055 destroyer – on Friday, one day before the 73rd anniversary of the founding of the navy.

Different versions of the helicopter – designed to carry troops or conduct reconnaissance and rescue missions – have already entered service with the People’s Liberation Army, appearing in the National Day Parade in October 2019, and with the People’s Armed Police.

Analysts said the aircraft would enhance the navy’s anti-submarine capability by expanding the combat radius and carrying more weapons.

Yue Gang, a former PLA colonel, said the naval version of the Z-20 would replace the domestically made Harbin Z-9C and Russian-built Ka-28 helicopters that were now used for anti-submarine operations.
The anti-submarine version of the Z-9C, another military utility helicopter, had a smaller capacity load and shorter air endurance, Yue said, while the Russian helicopters were due to be retired.

“Although the K- 28 can meet the requirements for anti-submarine [warfare] and transport, the imports are limited and should be retired due to the many years of service,” Yue said.
“In addition, its electronic equipment is outdated, which will not match the needs of current warships.”


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Yue said the Z-20 helicopter could expand the combat radius as it could stay in the air for a longer time and can carry more torpedoes and bombs than Z-9C. In addition, it could be used as a radar in the air to guide anti-ship missiles to attack enemy warships.

“As the replacement for the other two types of helicopter, it can match the combat functions of our new warships, especially in terms of electronic functions, so that the warships can exert their maximum power,” Yue said.

In the run-up to the navy’s anniversary two more Type 055 destroyers, one of the most advanced models in the world, entered service, CCTV reported on Thursday.

The PLA Navy also released a promotional video about its aircraft carrier programme on Friday, in which it hinted that the country’s third aircraft carrier will be officially revealed soon.

However, there was no announcement about the new carrier on Saturday, when it was widely expected that the ship would be launched.

Military sources have previously told the South China Morning Post that Shanghai’s coronavirus lockdown has slowed down the country’s shipbuilding programme.

 

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