I have just had a post titled “Higher Paid Scientists Help China Surpass US” on the factor that enable China to surpass the US—High remuneration for scientists. In fact, the scientists are not limited to Chinese ones. China is now employing quite a few expatriate scientists.
Another important factor that helps China surpass the US is US allies’ export of high technology to China that helps China’s not only economic but also military development.
China’s local newspaper Qianjiang (Qiantang River) Dialy says in its report that a Chinese-French joint venture has developed WZ-16 turboshaft, which is now produced for export but will soon be used to replace the unsatisfactory weak Chinese homegrown engine now installed on China’s WZ-10 attack helicopters to enhance its capabilities to rival US Apache.
The report says that when China developed WZ-10, it wanted to make it rival to US Apache. At that time, WZ-10 prototype used advanced Canadian powerful PT6C-67B turboshaft engine of 1,250 kW.
However, as the US told Canada not to sell the engine to China, China could not find satisfactory engine from other sources and had to use a Chinese homegrown turboshaft much weaker. As a result, WZ-10’s armor is thinner than Apache and it can carry only 8 instead 16 missiles that Apache can carry.
Now, according to experts, China’s WZ-10 will become rival to Apache if it uses WZ-16 turbofan.
Source: Qianjiang (Qiantang River) Dialy “WZ-10 changes to using WZ-16 turboshaft due to tremendous help from France” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)
China Daily says in its report on September 11 that China’s major helicopter producer AVIC disclosed the information on its development of a new-generation of helicopter on a media brochure distributed to domestic journalists taking part in the Third China Helicopter Expo.
AVIC gives no details about the helicopter, but China Daily quotes Lin Zuoming, AVIC’s chairman, as saying on the sidelines of the expo that the new helicopter will have stealth capability and will reshape the combat patterns of the PLA ground force.
The newspaper also quotes Wu Ximing, chief helicopter designer of the company as saying that the new helicopter will also feature supreme maneuverability in complicated environments, outstanding survivability and joint operational ability.
The news has drawn keen attention among Chinese media.
People.com.cn, the website of Chinese Communist Party’s mouthpiece People’s Daily, says in its report on September 15 that in CCTV’s interview with Chinese military expert Yin Zhuo on this topic, Yin said that China had the financial resources and technology reserve for the development of a homegrown stealth helicopter. What China has to make great efforts is to reduce the vibration and noise of Chinese helicopters.
Indeed, China Daily says in its report that AVIC revealed in its newspaper in May 2014 that Chinese helicopter engineers were developing a bearingless main rotor, a cutting-edge technology key to a stealth helicopter.
CCTV says that the United States began development of its Boeing-Sikorsky RAH-66 Comanche stealth helicopter in the 1980s but after a heavy investment of US$7 billions had to cancel the project in 2014.
China Daily says there has been Russian media report that Russia is researching designs for a fourth-generation combat helicopter with low radar signature, long range, ultrafast speed and low noise, but Yin Zhuo believes that Russia does not have the financial resources for the development of a stealth helicopter as the helicopter is very expensive. He guesses that the US canceled its stealth helicopter project due to lack of fund and thinks that China is the only country that has the financial resources for such expensive helicopters.
Yin said China’s combat helicopters Z-10 and Z-19 both have air-to-air combat capabilities to hint that the new stealth helicopter will also have such capabilities. It that is the case, the helicopters carried by China’s new frigate, destroyer and amphibious warship will be able to counter the warplanes from a U.S. aircraft carrier.
Source: China Daily “AVIC begins work on new attack helicopter”, full text of which can be viewed at http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2015-09/11/content_21842752.htm
Source: people.com.cn “Expert: China has the ability to develop stealth helicopter, which is able to strike first without being known” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)
At Tianjin Helicopter Exposition soon to be opened, China will showcase its new Wozhou-16 turboshaft engine and the model of a 5000kw turboshaft it is developing.
China’s WZ-10 armed helicopter regarded as better than U.S. AH-64 Apache lacks a powerful engine so that it cannot play to the full its designed capacities. When it was designed China planned to use a powerful Canadian engine but the United States told Canada not to sell such engine to China. As a result, China has to use Wozhou-9 with less power in WZ-10 and gives up some of the auxiliary equipment that it has designed to carry to reduce its weight.
Wozhou-16 has a takeoff power of 1,240 and maximum continuous power of 1,100 kw, bigger than Wozhou-9. It is characterized with low power-weight ratiao, high unit power, low fuel consumption, high reliability, easy maintenance, advanced control and fault detection. Moreover, there is potential to raise its power by 15% through further improvement.
The engine is now undergoing the certification procedures and expected to be put into mass production in 18 months. By that time, it will be used in WZ-10 and China’s AC313 13-ton class large helicopter with three engines.
In addition, China will showcase the model of its new 5000kw turboshaft engine.
According to Wu Ximing, chief helicopter designer of AVIC (Aviation Industry Corporation of China) Helicopter Company, the new engine will be used to develop a tiltrotor aircraft similar to U.S. V-22 Osprey code name “Lanjing (Blue Whale)” with a takeoff weight of 40 tons and internal load of 20 tons.
Source: mil.huanqiu.com “Will Wu-10 be installed with homegrown more powerful Wozhou-16 engine? Secret probed at Helicopter Exposition” and “5000kw turboshaft engine entirely developed by China on its own can be used in Blue Whale tiltrotor aircraft” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the reports in Chinese)
US supply of 4 Perry class frigates to Taiwan has become a hot topic, but a PLA major says that even with such weapons, Taiwan lags behind China by 2 decades. Especially, Perry class frigates are outdated warships that the US is decommissioning and selling to get some funds to ease the effect of the reduction in US military budget.
However, even if the US is willing to sell Taiwan some really advanced weapons, it takes time for Taiwan to learn how to operate them and provide logistic services for them; therefore, the US is unable to help Taiwan if a war breaks out now.
Over the past decade, PLA has commissioned lots of advanced weapons and set up a combat system much superior to Taiwan’s. The war now be of such a large scale that Taiwan cannot afford.
If the war across the strait emerges in the future, China is enhancing its military strength much faster than Taiwan. Taiwan will be hopeless especially when China has commissioned its J-20 stealth fighter jets and hypersonic weapons and built its homegrown aircraft carrier.
According to the major, China wants a peaceful solution of the Taiwan issue. For that purpose, China has to develop its military to make it far more superior to Taiwan’s.
The US knows well that it is unable to help Taiwan but only wants to make money by selling some outdated weapons to Taiwan. Taiwan knows well such weapons cannot help, but at least the sales show that the US is on its side. That gives Taiwan a sense of security.
Source: qianzhan.com “Major: PLA looks down on Perry, Apache not even if US provides Taiwan with such weapons for three more armies” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)
According to the photos recently posted on the internet by a military forum, like US AH-64C/D Apache Longbow and Russian Mi-28N Night Hunter, China’s Z-19 armed helicopter has also been equipped with a millimeter wave radar, which looks very similar to the fire control radar on US AN/APG-78 Longbow. Therefore, some US military forums complained that China had copied US weapons again.
Sources say that PLA’s Z-10 will also be upgraded by the installation of a millimeter wave radar. As a result, China will be the third country in the world to have equipped its armed helicopters with millimeter wave radar.
Due to the delivery of AH-64E armed helicopters to Taiwanese army, the PLA now pays great attention to improvement of its Z-10 and Z-19 helicopters. One of the approaches for the improvement is the installation of millimeter wave radar on them to greatly improve their detection ability and fire control.
Source: mil.huanqiu.com “Disclosure of Z-19 equipped with millimeter wave radar, regarded by the US as copying US Apache” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)
- China Successful Maiden Flight of Z-20 New Type 10-Ton Grade Helicopter dated December 24, 2013
- Test Flight of Proof Version of China’s New Unmanned Stealth Helicopter Jueying dated September 24, 2013
- China to build helicopter that can exceed 700km/h dated September 13, 2013
- China, Russia joint development of large aircrafts and heavy helicopters dated December 7, 2012
- China’s WZ-10 Armed Helicopter Better than US AH-64D Apache dated November 18, 2012