The Black Hawk
In the mid-1980’s China bought 24, Sikorsky S-70C-2s. These aircraft were pressed into active service by the army for treacherous missions in different mountainous regions in China, like Tibet. Within a short period of time, these aircraft performed amazingly well and impressed the Army personnel. The U.S cut-off spares and supplies support post in 1989 and the army commenced buying a majority of its aircraft from Russia and it shifted to the Mi-17/171s. In the meantime, Changhe started reverse-engineering parts to keep the army’s S-70 fleet flying. The Z-20 team drew heavily from the Sikorsky helicopter designs.
Rumors Are Rife
Certain rumors stated that Pakistan permitted Chinese engineers access to the heavily modified Black Hawks that has been destroyed during the Bin Laden raid. The Z-20 bears a striking resemblance to the S-70 but has some notable differences as well. The Black Hawk has a 4-blade main rotor while the Z-20 has a 5-blade unit. The Z-20 also has a longer and a wider cabin and there are some differences in the tail and the undercarriage. A utility helicopter such as this can be used very effectively for fire support, assault, special operations missions and electronic warfare. The Z-20 is projected to be used to beef up the helicopter fleet aboard an aircraft carrier called the Liaoning.