All PLAGF Aviation Brigades now Armed with New WZ-10 Anti-tank Helicopters
The People's Liberation Army Ground Force (PLAGF) said it's finished equipping all its aviation brigades with the new WZ-10 anti-tank helicopter intended for use mainly against Indian Army tanks.
Also called the CAIC Z-10, the WZ-10 is an indigenous attack helicopter mounting Chinese-made anti-tank missiles. It can also carry air-to-air missiles to shoot down opposing helicopters and other aircraft.
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The WZ-10 can be armed with a wide variety of weapons. This includes three types of autocannon with calibers up to 30 mm; the HJ-8, HJ-9 and HJ-10 anti-tank missiles; the TY-90 air-to-air missile and unguided air-to-ground rockets.
The HJ-10 is the Chinese equivalent of the American AGM-114 Hellfire anti-tank missile.
PLAGF said at least 100 of the WZ-10s are currently operational with its front line units, most of which are arrayed against India along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) separating both countries.
PLAGF said the WZ-10s were delivered to the Air Defense Brigade of the PLA 13th Group Army under the Western Theater Command. This command is part of the Chengdu Military Region that encompasses the Xizang/Tibet Autonomous Region, Chongqing, Sichuan, Yunnan and Guizhou.
These areas, especially the Xizang/Tibet Autonomous Region that borders India, are probable flashpoints for conflicts with India.
Beijing's announcement of the WZ-10 deployment also comes amid its efforts to dissuade India from emplacing its BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles to both countries' shared border in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. India has refused and has reinforced Indian Army units defending this state against China.
The WZ-10 was designed by Russia's Kamov design bureau under a contract with the Chinese government. The PLA claims the WZ-10 has superior maneuverability and combat compatibility compared to the WZ-9 (Harbin Z-9), which is distinctive because of its fenestron tail that makes it more quiet.
Wu Ximing, chief designer of the helicopter at Changhe Aircraft Industries, admitted the WZ-10 is somewhat inferior to the WZ-9 in firepower, ammunition load and engine power.
The PLAGF still needs more medium-lift, multipurpose helicopters such as the U.S. Army's Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk to perform both combat operations and transport tasks.