Z-20 10-ton Helicopter
The Z-20 helicopter is seen by many military enthusiasts as a member of China's most advanced "20 series" aircraft, with the others being the J-20 stealth fighter jet, the Y-20 large transport plane and the H-20 strategic bomber. The Y-20 corresponds to C-17, Z-10 / AH64, Z-20 / UH-60, and J-20 / F-22. The army version of the Z-20 reportedly had entered trial service, but the commissioning had not yet been officially confirmed. The Z-20 can be paired with a domestic large transport aircraft Y-20. The combined delivery will be of great significance to improve the mobility of the Chinese Army. Army, mobile combat capability will be unprecedentedly improved.
Only five days after the AC313 helicopter passed the review by the Civil Aviation Administration of China, the domestically-made new general-purpose helicopter Zhi-20 successfully made its first flight at an airport in Harbin on the morning of December 23, 2013. With the entry into service of the future Z-20, China's military's air assault capability will be greatly improved, and it will play an extremely important role in the areas of plateau transportation, rescue and disaster relief. On October 10, 2019, the Fifth China Tianjin International Helicopter Expo opened in Tianjin Airport Economic Zone, making the Z-20 debut at the air show.
China had been in need of a medium utility helicopter and the homemade Z-20, believed to have a capacity of 10 tons, will fulfill the demand. Many people think that this aircraft [the UH-60] has been flying for narly four decades, so it doesn't seem to make much sense for China build the Z-20 now. In fact, the United States itself is constantly modifying the Black Hawk. Since the 1990s, helicopter technology has entered the fourth generation, and it is also the most advanced generation today. The main technical features include: installation of the third-generation turboshaft engine; equipped with further optimized design airfoils, blade tips and advanced composite rotor blades, new types of hubs without bearings or elastic hinges; most or all of the body structure Composite materials; control system changed to electrical longitudinal; on-board electronic equipment uses data bus, integrated presentation and mission management; advanced flight control, communication and navigation systems. China's Z-20 may not be as good as the latest Black Hawk due to engine and some material technologies and production processes. However, with China's integration of various technologies, the level of the Z-20 can reach the world's most advanced level in the early 1990s.
"Although the aircraft's appearance bears some resemblances to the US' Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk, it doesn't necessarily mean the Z-20 is merely a knockoff of its US counterpart," Chen Hong, a researcher at the PLA Air Force Command Institute in Beijing, told Beijing News. . The Z-20 has a five-blade rotor compared with the UH-60's four blades, he added. "The addition of a blade will enable the Z-20 to outperform the UH-60 when it comes to lift force, ferry range and payload capacity," he said. The increased main blades can increase lift and reduce noise, while the swept-back sharpened design of the blade tip can delay transonic shock waves, reduce aerodynamic drag, improve hovering efficiency, and reduce fuel consumption.
The Z-20 is also widely regarded as using the 1600 kW (about 2145 shaft horsepower) provided by the Chinese-made turboshaft-10 engine, which is higher than the 1500 kW (about 2011 shaft) provided by the GE T700-701D produced by General Electric of the United States. horsepower). Considering that the height of the western plateau in China is above 3,000 meters, these unique characteristics make the Zhi-20 very different. It can operate at a height of up to 13,200 feet or even higher. It also gives the Zhi-20 stronger than the Black Hawk. Load capacity and longer battery life. Electronic navigation will also have a special plan to improve the cloudy and foggy terrain in the mountains.
Rotor anti-icing is a very core advanced technology that the -20 must overcome. It requires precise control of the thermal power density of the composite heating component embedded in the material. If the temperature is too high, the blades will be burned. Both can lead to catastrophic accidents caused by machine damage. In addition, the blades of the built-in heating components must be reliable and durable under high-speed rotation. The technical issues involved are extremely complicated. It has been a major problem for China for a long time. Now, the embedded de-icing component can be roughly seen from the straight -20 HD photos, indicating that this technology has also been won.
The Z-20 uses a large number of composite materials in the main rotor, flat tail and even the fuselage. According to previous public reports, the proportion of composite materials has gradually increased on the third-generation domestic helicopters represented by Wuzhi-10, Zhi-19, and AC313. It is believed that the utilization ratio of the composite material of Zhi-20 will reach a new high. The Zhi-20 also used the telex control system and advanced night vision equipment for the first time. The control is more accurate and faster, and more suitable for high-risk missions: including severe weather such as low-altitude flight and dark night winds.
The SH-70 had always been the best helicopter in China's plateau. The "Black Hawk" helicopters equipped with the Chengdu Military Region are the only helicopters that can move freely on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. By October 2017 the Z-20 utility helicopter, which China considered a match for the UH-60 Blackhawk, was also undergoing tests in plateau regions in China, according to the Aviation Industry Cooperation of China.
After joining the People's Liberation Army, the main mission of the Zhi-20 may be the same as that of the UH-60 series helicopters in the United States. It will mainly perform a series of tasks such as personnel transportation. It can also develop carrier-based helicopters based on it; short wings can be added if necessary It is equipped with anti-tank missiles, rocket launchers and other weapons to undertake ground fire support tasks. In the civilian field, the Zhi-20 can also play its role in medical emergency, rescue and disaster relief, and VIP transportation.
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