Combat attack helicopters: Rivals in the air

Discussion in 'Indian Air Force' started by Neil, Jun 16, 2011.

  1. Neil

    Neil Senior Member Senior Member

    Jun 23, 2010
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    China and India have in past decade started focusing on the Combat attack helicopters in a very serious way and both armies want to have large fleet of attack helicopters in their strike corps’ .while Indian air force has been operating Mi-24 Hind for last two decades, china on the other hand did not have any dedicated attack helicopters in their fleet.

    Development of Attack helicopter in both the countries begun recently, while china had the head start but in terms of development and research both seems to be in par with each other, while India had operational experience of operating a attack helicopter, success and experienced gained in research and development of Dhruv Advance light Helicopters by HAL has translated in to faster development of Light combat Helicopter (LCH) nick named Tiger bird by the media.

    While China for the last two decade tried to acquire Mi-24 Hind twice from then Soviet Union but failed due to fears in Moscow of china making illegal copies of it ,they even failed to acquire latest Russian Ka-50 attack helicopter ,which Moscow refused due to same fears of china making illegal copies of it , with Russian doors shut, Chinese Aerospace industry had to turn to its own local agencies for development of attack helicopter ,in mean time china was able to arm their utility helicopters with rocket pods and missiles but it was more of stop measure by Chinese and real development of Chinese attack was taken by Changhe Aircraft Industries Corporation (CAIC) and the end result was WZ-10 which had its first flight way back in 2003 .


    While both platforms struggled with their own issues, HAL’s LCH suffered due to its overweight, but with years of experience in development of ALH, HAL was able to overcome with initial set back it suffered with LCH, but Chinese which had first flight of WZ-10 way back in 2003 still are having problems particularly in the area of survivability during crashes. and are having problems to hit production of their helicopter.


    project also suffered due to non-availability of engines for the helicopter, Chinese had to experiment with three different engines for WZ-10, and one been Russian developed Klimov VK-2500 turboshaft engine that powers Mil Mi-17s sold to China , second been Ukrainian Motor-Sich TV3-117 that powers Mil Mi-28 and even Pratt & Whitney developed PT6C-67C for their civilian variant ,its rumoured that Ukrainians are helping Chinese develop their own engine for the platform but still now all their prototypes are been powered by different foreign engines .

    while on other hand will have the same reliable HAL and Turbomeca developed Shakti turboshaft engine which also powers HAL developed Dhruv ALH, while LCH weights half in comparison to Chinese WZ-10 (5.5 ton compared to LCH’s 2.5 ton) in its current form houses a more powerful engine and is able to carry same payload of weapons, which is quite a remarkable achievement for a much lighter attack helicopter.


    While Chinese in their quest for development of attack helicopters and their failures to acquire one from a foreign vendor lead to sort of arrangement with South African company Denel which developed AH-2 Rooivalk , Chinese wanted to acquire one of the sample from Denel , with possibility of a joint venture ,Chinese were given detailed inspection of a Rooivalk , but Chinese request for one Rooivalk for evaluation purpose lead to suspicion in Denel , which later on denied Chinese any more access to the project and the sample helicopter , but as usual Chinese WZ-10 has a strong resembles to the Rooivalk.

    LCH design is based on ALH but fuselage had to be optimized for stealth and needed more changes in flight controls, the hydraulics and the fuel system.

    Combat attack helicopters: Rivals in the air |
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2011

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