China is developing an all-new military helicopter, Wu Ximing, designer of the Z-10 attack helicopter has said, without divulging details of the new machine.
“When talking about helicopter products, we should not simply develop what foreign countries have, instead we should develop what fits our country the most. They must integrate with China’s current and future development, together with technological development, so as to fit even the development in the 20 to 30 years in the future. We must accurately judge and find a position,” Wu was quoted as saying by government-owned China Central Television (CCTV). “A new product is already on its way, and I hope it can speed up. We will make constant efforts to speed it up.”
The Z-10 is considered a competitor to the Boeing Apache and is Beijing’s most advanced helicopter to date. However, China does not have helicopters sporting a twin co-axial propeller which offer superior speed and maneuverability over conventional helicopters.
In addition, China has fallen behind the United States in terms of developing a helicopter for the future such as the Bell V-280 Valor tilt-rotor which has been selected by the U.S. Army as its Future Long Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA). The tilt-rotor concept offers the advantages of vertical lift and hover besides the speed of a turbo-prop aircraft.
Any future helicopter project will have to be based either on a tilt-rotor or a co-axial propeller concept. China has not hinted so far regarding what shape its future helicopter will take.