BEIJING (Agencies): The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) recently organized a day-and-night live-fire exercise off the coast of East China’s Fujian Province for multi-type helicopters carrying multi-type munitions, including a newly debuted airborne rocket launcher.
Fully loaded with munitions, a group of Z-10 attack helicopters attached to an aviation brigade affiliated with the PLA 73rd Group Army took off in formation and headed toward designated areas, avoiding radar detection attempts through evasive maneuvers and low altitude flights and successfully launching attacks on maritime targets and targets on islands and reefs, China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Saturday.
After the first wave, the helicopters were then tasked to defeat multiple waves of additional enemies in proximity. Another attack started at night, with the pilots using night vision goggles among other equipment to complete the strike missions, CCTV reported.
The Z-10 helicopters fired their guns, rockets and missiles during the exercise. The rocket launcher carried by the Z-10s is of a new type that just debuted in September, observers said.
The new 19-tube rocket launcher gives the Z-10 more firepower thanks to the additional rockets it can carry, a military expert who observed the launcher from close range at the 6th China Helicopter Exposition held in North China’s Tianjin Municipality from September 14 to 17, told the Global Times on Sunday.
The more powerful domestically developed engines in Z-10 likely contributed to an increase in its maximum takeoff weight, allowing the helicopter to carry heavier weapons such as the new launcher, the expert said.
Fu Qianshao, a military aviation expert, told the Global Times that helicopters have special advantages in island and landing operations since they can hover as well as carry out vertical takeoffs and landings without an airfield.
The 73rd Group Army is affiliated with the PLA Eastern Theater Command responsible for the Taiwan Straits. The defense authority on the island of Taiwan had previously spotted Z-10s near the island.
In addition to Z-10 attack helicopters, Z-20 utility helicopters were also a part of the exercise, the CCTV report showed.
During the drills, the brigade organized forces responsible for reconnaissance, control and strikes into different groups to take on different roles, explored a new model in modularizing low altitude aviation attack forces, verified the effectiveness of weapons and equipment and the tested the pilots’ skills and tactical prowess, CCTV said.