China’s most modern anti-submarine helicopter has entered service, appearing in footage to mark the navy’s anniversary.
State broadcaster CCTV aired the footage – which shows a Z-20 helicopter taking off from the deck of a Type 055 destroyer – was broadcast on Friday, one day before the 73rd anniversary of the founding of the navy.
Different versions of the helicopter – designed to carry troops or conduct reconnaissance and rescue missions – have already entered service with the People’s Liberation Army, appearing in the National Day Parade in October 2019, and with the People’s Armed Police.
It will enhance the navy’s anti-submarine capability by expanding the combat radius and carrying more weapons, analysts said.
The naval version of the Z-20 will replace the domestically made Harbin Z-9C and Russian-built Ka-28 helicopters that are currently used for anti-submarine operations, Yue Gang, a former PLA colonel, said.
The anti-submarine version of the Z-9C, another military utility helicopter, has a smaller capacity load and shorter air endurance, Yue said, while the Russian helicopters are due to be retired.
“Although the K- 28 can meet the requirements for anti-submarine [warfare] and transport, the imports are limited and should be retired due to the many years of service,” Yue said.
“In addition, its electronic equipment is outdated, which will not match the needs of current warships.”
Yue said the Z-20 helicopter can expand the combat radius as it can stay in the air for a longer time and can carry more torpedoes and bombs than Z-9C. In addition, it can be used as a radar in the air to guide anti-ship missiles to attack enemy warships.
Source: South China Morning Post