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Global Times

PLA Army's attack helicopters conduct sea-crossing assault drills on Navy warship

Global Times

By Liu Xuanzun Source: Global Times Published: 2020/8/5 18:10:41

Z-10 attack helicopters attached to the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Army recently conducted a series of sea-crossing assault drills on a Navy warship. The combination of Army helicopters and Navy warships can significantly boost the PLA's amphibious, vertical landing capability and will play a vital role in potential military operations on the island of Taiwan, military analysts said on Wednesday.

An aviation brigade under the 73rd Group Army and a Navy vessel squadron recently held an exercise on cross-service integration between helicopters and warships, in which Army helicopters including the Z-10, Z-9 and Mi-171 landed on a Navy warship and conducted coordinated command and sea-crossing assault drills in a southern sea area off East China's Fujian Province, China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Tuesday.

During the drills, the Army helicopters took off from a land base, approached the sea area where the Navy's Type 071 amphibious landing ship was located, and landed on the flight deck of the warship, the report said.

After soldiers boarded the aircraft, transport helicopters took off again and headed toward the mission area at low altitude under the cover of attack helicopters. On arriving at the designated areas, the soldiers aboard the helicopters rappelled down the helicopters and initiated the attack, CCTV reported.

At least one Z-10 attack helicopter featured in the drills is the latest, upgraded variant with upward-facing exhaust openings, which are expected to reduce the chopper's infrared signals and make it harder to target, CCTV's military program Weihutang pointed out.

This type of exercise is very significant for the PLA's amphibious, vertical landing capability, as the Army Aviation Force can be trained to become capable of integrating with the Navy Aviation Force and Marines in a large-scale landing operation, a military expert who asked not to be named told the Global Times on Wednesday.

The Navy Aviation Force does not have attack helicopters like the Z-10, and the strong fire support from this kind of helicopter will be vital in suppressing hostile ground forces, the expert said.

China is developing the Type 075 amphibious assault ship, which will be able to host more helicopters than the Type 071 in amphibious assault missions. Two Type 075s have been launched since 2019.

Zhang Keqiang, a flight commander of the Army aviation brigade, said on CCTV that the drills accumulated data and experience for future helicopter-warship integrated combat.

Amphibious assault and landing ships, as well as the helicopters carried by them, are key instruments in potential military operations on the island of Taiwan, the anonymous expert said.



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