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WZ-19 Black Tornado

The Z-19 is the "AH" version of the Z-9 Haitun/Dauphin, based on the Z-9 military derivative of H410A, H425 and H450 civilian helicopters. Regarding this fact, the Chinese military fans nicknamed Z-19 as "Cobrauphin" - the "Dauphin" born like the AH-1 Huey Cobra. The WZ-19 dual-engine performance is similar to the AH-1S/F single engine model, but inferior to the AH-1Z / AH-1 W twin models.

The Z-19 has a good auto-cannon and guided missile weaponry. The 23-mm automatic cannon and up to eight ATGMs onboard can allow it to fight enemy armor. From its power plant, to the fan-in-tail rotor design, to the concept of reduced visibility using electronics, all of this is very similar to what the French and Germans attempted to create with the Tiger almost thirty years ago.

China already had a good helicopter gunship design at its disposal. This is the WZ-10, based not only on the Soviet and Russian experience in helicopter construction, but on the Italian A129 Mangusta design. The WZ-10 even looks similar to the Italian helicopter, although it differs from it structurally. This includes the Chinese design's seven ton weight (nearly double that of the A129's four tons). It remained a big question why China needed a helicopter with combat capabilities that were substantially inferior to the WZ-10, a chopper that has already been adopted into service with the Chinese military."

The new Chinese Army Aviation WZ-19 attack helicopters are mainly used to attack tanks and other heavy targets. The new Harbin/AVIC WZ-19 attack helicopter is based on the Z-9W anti-armor attack helicopter, which itself was derived from the license-built AS-365N. The WZ-19 used the engines (WoZhou WZ8A?), rotor, aft fuselage and tail section (including Fenestron tailrotor) with minor modifications from H425 [one of the recent upgraded variants of the Z-9] swhich speeds up the development. Unlike the the Z-9W, which was basically an wide-body armed utility helicopter, the WZ-19 features a new narrow forwarded fuselage with tandem compact layout similar to that of the other gunship helicopters like Z-10, TAI/Agusta Westland T-129, AH-1Z Viper, AH-64 Apache, Eurocopter Tiger, Mil Mi-28 and HAL Light Combat Helicopter.

The WZ-19 features a narrow forward fuselage and a tandem cockpit layout similar to those of Z-10, but with reversed seating - the pilot sitting in the front seat and gunner in the back seat. Both crew are protected by armor plates, crash-resist seats and non-retractable front landing gears. It also features a Z-9WA style nose mounted EO turret (FLIR, TV and laser range finder), with armament consisting of on 30mm canon in chin turret. The helicopter can also carry the air-to-air and air-to-ground weapon package similar to that of Z-9WA under a pair of stub wings, including KD-8 ATGMs, PL-90 AAMs as well as 23mm gun pods and rocket lanchers.

The WZ-19 helicopter has a take off weight of 4,500kg, empty weight 2,350kg, max cruising speed 245km/h [about 150 mph], max climb rate 9m/s [over 1,500 ft/minute], range 700km [450 miles], ceiling (out of ground effect) 2,400m, endurance of over 3hours. The exhaust ports help reduce the use of the infrared signal design.

The WZ-19 isn't really an "Attack helicopter", but is rather more like an armed scout. The WZ-19 is a light (4 ton empty) reconnaissance & attack helicopter akin to Japan's OH-1 or the American AH-1 Cobra, while the WZ-10 is a mid-weight (6 tons) dedicated attack helicopter. The Z-19 project was expected to support the heavier Z-10 attack helicopter from Changhe which was delayed by engine problems [aren't they all??]. The WZ-19 is a light scout/attack helicopter, rather smaller and lighter than the WZ-10. The WZ-19 seems more suited for Pakistan than the WZ-10 because it is similar to the AH-1 Cobra which Pakistan operates, and the WZ-19 shares components with the Z-9 so it would be more convenient to maintain. Some analysts have pointed out that the WZ-10 medium-sized attack helicopter development work is now nearing completion, while new entrants are likely to launch the WZ-19 with the formation of high and low with the former, the former quantity to cover the shortage of the later.

The primary task of the WZ-10 and WZ-19 armed helicopters is to provide fire support on battlefields. Characterized by excellent flight performances and extreme low-altitude maneuverability, the helicopters can be equipped with multiple air-to-air and air-to-ground precision-guided weapons, and possess the daytime and nighttime combat capabilities. All the troop units equipped with these armed helicopters have successively established flight tackling teams in order to tackle highly-difficult problems in flight of these armed helicopters, explored new training methods and tactics by focusing on the characteristics of future wars, and established a complete training system for these new-type armed helicopters.




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