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China's new Avicopter Z-11WB light helicopter performed its maiden flight

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Aviation defence equipment technology - China
 
 
 
China's new Avicopter Z-11WB light helicopter performed its maiden flight
 
Designed as a military improvement over the AC-311, China’s Avicopter Z-11WB made its first successful flight late last month. In November of 2010, Chinese state-owned manufacturer Avicopter unveiled the AC-311, a single-engine helicopter capable of carrying up to six people.
     
China new Avicopter Z 11WB light helicopter performed itsmaiden flight 640 001Avicopter's Z-11WB light military helicopter performing its maiden flight
     
On September 28, the company conducted the first test-flight of its military version, the Z-11WB. Maintaining the high visibility of the AC-311, the new helicopter has modifications which allow it to "carry out ground support, attack, battlefield reconnaissance, command, counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics, counter-smuggling, and other tasks," according to Chinese reports.

Early images of the aircraft also suggest that the Z-11WB will feature an electro-optical pod.

If the new chopper is anything like the Z-11, a predecessor of the AC-311, then it will be powered by the WZ8D turboshaft engine.

While the Army Aviation Corps of the People’s Liberation Army could be one major customer, it’s unclear whether other parties have expressed interest. In 2011, Argentina signed a deal with Avicopter to construct the Z-11, and there is no word on whether Buenos Aires will purchase the new aircraft.

The Z-11WB was tested in Jingdezhen, in northeastern Jiangxi province.

According to Chinese sources, the Z-11WB development will be completed soon and deliveries will begin in 2016. Chinese reports indicate that the helicopter will be ready for operations sometime in 2016.