Tilt-rotor, stealth and aerial-refueling could feature in future Chinese helicopters; some of these concepts could be revealed at the 6th China Helicopter Exposition in Harbin this September.
The sixth edition of China Helicopter Exposition will be held from September 14 to 17 in North China's Tianjin. Held every alternative year since 2011, with the exception of 2021 because of the pandemic, the event is China's only national-level dedicated helicopter expo that comes with flight performances.
Major helicopter subsidiaries of state-owned Aviation Industry Corp of China (AVIC) as well as the Equipment Department of the People’s Liberation Army are among the organizers of the event.
Deng Jinghui, the designer of the Z-20 utility helicopter, told the Global Times in 2021 that China is aiming to develop a 40-ton-class heavy transport helicopter and a fifth-generation high-speed helicopter, as well as integrate high technologies including artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, 5G communications, new energy and new materials.
Chinese manufacturers are also reportedly trying to add aerial refueling and stealth capabilities to its future helicopters. There could also be drastic changes to the conventional helicopter design, for example, tilt-rotor aircraft such as the American V-22 Osprey, but there could be even more innovative changes.
Wu Ximing, the designer of the Z-10 attack helicopter, said in a media interview earlier this month that Beijing is already working on a new helicopter, without giving out much details.
In 2019, the PLA Army for the first time put China's most advanced tactical utility helicopter, the Z-20, on static display. The military also presented the KVD001 fixed-wing drone that can operate together with helicopters and provide the latter with reconnaissance and guidance support.