Friday Eye Candy: China’s Newest Attack Helo

Check out these latest photos of China’s newest attack helo, the Z-19. The twin-seat bird, an updated version of the Z-9W that’s been in service since the 1990s, is just one more example of China’s military modernization.

If the chopper’s lines look vaguely familiar, it’s because the bird is based on the Eurocopter Dauphin series, you know, the same ones the U.S. Coast Guard flies. The Z-9 series are licence-built versions of the Dauphin. Now Beijing ┬áhas modified it into an attack helo.

Click through the jump for more pics.

Via China Defense Blog.




  • Mitch S.

    Well if for attack helos “uglier is better” then this should be superb.

    • blight

      Then it’s good that the Comanche wasn’t an attack helo.
      Also, ugly Russian attack helos would be good.

    • Tron

      yea this thing is the undisputed champ

  • carloscardoso

    Nice training target. Almost worth an AIM-120. Almost.

    • ddd

      Use a blow dart against it

    • passingby

      how did you get 79p with worthless brainless 1-liners and 2-liners???


    Unfortunately, these come standard with Chinese pilots as well.

  • blight

    That said, the shaping is reminiscent of the Comanche.

  • Guest

    Not bad. I dig the all black paint job.

    @ All the dismissive comments: NONE of us can really judge the quality of modern PLA tech because NONE of use have every had first hand experience with it. But I would wager that a nation that has build maglev trains and has a successful manned and unmanned space program is probably more than capable of making a decent helicopter.

  • DougieR

    Is NATO still assigning reporting names for Chinese aircraft? Because this one should be the Z-19 “Pufferfish”.

  • -dp

    “…The Z-9 series are licence-built versions of the Dauphin…”

    At least they are license-built and not straight ripped.

  • Ryan

    So, no gun….?

  • Bob

    Looks more like a Eurocopter Tiger in the front with a Dauphin tail boom with the ducted fan.

  • Jacob

    Whatever happened to the Z-10? (Then again maybe I shouldn’t use Battlefield 2 as an expectation for how China’s military will look.)

    • cozine

      Thought the WZ-10 program is still plagued with engine problem, after P&W Canada backed out of the agreement to provide its turboshaft engine, after a friendly reminder from a neighboring country.

    • JackBlack
      ” So far at least 12 Z-10s of the first batch have entered the service with PLA Army Aviation (S/N LH951xx)”

  • Riceball

    It may not look like much but it is a start and doesn’t look too bad for a first effort at an indigenous attack helo. My guess is that the Chinese are being conservative with their design and taking baby steps, sort of like with their carrier. I’m sure that in another 5 – 10 years we’ll see another design come out that will look much more like what come to expect in an attack helo and will almost certainly be much more capable too.

  • Benjamin

    The AH-1 is a successful attack helicopter design and it like the Z-19 was based upon a transport helicopter. There is no reason that the Z-19 will not be a successful design

    • JackBlack

      and Denel AH-2 Rooivalk

  • tribulationtime

    OK but….Where is the Carrier?

  • nary

    World, meet the real Superpower nation…

  • Jay

    HMMMM…. That tail rotor look really familiar… Almost like the one from the Black Hawk that went down in the Osama bin Laden raid in Pakistan. Coincidence? I think not!!!

    • JackBlack

      Yes indeed, the raid that happen in 1967, when the French invented that tail rotor.

    • blight

      It’s the tail assembly right off of the Dolphin.

      It’s like comparing diamonds and pentagons…

    • tiger

      Sorry Jay, wrong bird……

  • Lance

    Both the Z-9 and this newer Z-19 looks like China took most of the Euro-copters Tiger attack helicopter design into this bird. This looks like s simple new upgraded to the Z-9. But not horribly looking. A AH-64D+ could kick its but though ;).

  • RCDC

    They might sell it for pennies on the dollar….

  • Sam

    is there anything they cant copy or steal? the first time i saw the pic it kinda reminded me of a compressed Commanche

    • tiger

      It’s not a copy & they stole nothing not available.

  • STemplar

    Should work fine for suppressing Tibetan and Islamic protestors in Chinese western provinces.

    • Robert Fritts

      When PRC invaded Tibet it took over a country with a disorganized total of 8500 Military or Police forces. These few were tasked with defending and collecting taxes to support the 2.7 million pacifist monks. Now you dont have to be a math major to see a little unbalance, the 317:1 monk to soldier ratio did not work. Maybe something around 20:1 would have been enough todeter the PRC. I see abit of the Obama/Panneta defense model in the old Tibetian structure.

    • blight

      Ironically an aircraft without an integral machinegun makes the worst APERS aircraft. A Hind with door-mounted miniguns (Gshg-7.62mm; four barrel) and carrying a rifle squad would make the best antipersonnel helicopter.

  • TLAM Strike

    Dear God! It looks like a Huey Cobra mated with a HH-65 Dolphin!

    The Horror!!

    NOTE: No cannon! interesting….

  • I think look like comanche copter, btw congrat for China the real superpower.

    • from a response to tiger above – #1 economy, not yet. #1 military, not close. Man on the moon? No (we’ve been there a half dozen times). Aircraft carriers? One they are trying to figure out how it works (we have 11).

      China is on track. It’s not there yet…

      Read more:

    • blight

      So when south africa finishes their Rooivalk they will become a “real superpower’ as well?

  • William C.

    Looks to be more for armed reconnaissance than an actual attack helicopter, at least with that light loadout.

  • Jonathan H.

    chinese are at it again, copying off military equipments from other nations in the world with no original designs on their own when it comes to modern western weapons system.

  • George

    This one looks like what the Iranians did, sticking a double tail at the end of a F-5 and calling it a new design. With all the extra weight up in front, this thing will probably be a flying coffin, unless they put in a state-of-the-art FBW system

  • blight

    From strategypage (

    “European firms are particularly eager to drop the embargo, and some, like France, are ignoring it. This is done by disregarding the installation of dual-use Western equipment in weapons systems. The latest example is the use of French Arriel 2C engines (built under license in China), for the Z-9WE combat helicopter.
    The Arriel 2C engine is only supposed to be used for Chinese civilian helicopters, and is used for over 300 of them. Earlier models of the Z-9 use Chinese designed and built WZ8A engines. These were not satisfactory. So now China is advertising the use of Arriel 2C engines in its Z-9WE combat helicopters.

    This use of Western engines in military helicopters is not new. Five years ago China installed Canadian PT6C-67C engines in its Z-10 helicopter gunship. China shrugs off foreign protests at this, and, partly because of this, European military equipment manufacturers are pushing for a lifting of the embargo.

    The Z-9 is a license built version of the French AS 365N Dauphin. It’s a four ton chopper with a two ton payload. China has built over 200 of the Z-9s and many have been armed (with twin 23mm cannon, torpedoes, anti-tank missiles and air-to-air missiles.)”

    • passingby

      The French are smarter than the Americans in this respect. Make a boatload of money when your technology is still worth something and sought after. Else in 5-10 years, the Chinese will come up with their own engines anyways.

  • mindmedic

    Yeah it’s ugly and too small and copied and lower tech. But! if China goes with it… one million helicopters make a powerful weapon.

  • StrumPanzer

    I’m sure it wouldn’t be hard for them to mount a 20mm cannon on the undercarriage.

  • UAVgeek

    Hence the continuing service of the Mosin-Nagant series of rifles- Killing whoever you want, since 1891.

  • passingby

    Perhaps I didn’t make myself clear: I don’t have a precise A-A record for F-105, other than that it had a poor loss-exchange-ratio against the MiGs, which is true.

    USAF claims that a total of around 340 F-105s were lost in enemy action (incl. AAA, SAMs, air combats) in the Vietnam War. Plus maybe another 60 or so in accidents.

    Vietnamese/Chinese/Soviet figures were higher.

    You may verify the figures online.

  • Flynn

    yup, they should stick to Kung Fu for defense and modern weapons systems.

  • Da_Bunny

    Probably not enough useful payload to mount a gun after you add up two pilots, weapons, fuel, guidance systems, countermeasures….it’s called a light gunship for a reason.

  • Redcoat

    As a solid AH is already fielded by the PLAAF, the Z 10, why would the Chinese want a light role AH? Carries less ordanace and will be less armoured. Besides the obvious priority units stationed near Beijing, Does any one have an idea which units would recieve these platforms?