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PRC to debut new helicopters, drones at China Helicopter Expo

Attack helicopters assigned to an army aviation brigade under the PLA Xinjiang Military Command take off for a live-fire training exercise in the hinterland of the Karakoram Range at an altitude of nearly 5000 meters in late May, 2021. Photo: Wu Shike.

The People’s Republic of China is expected to put new PLA Army multi-role, vertical take-off and landing drones, as well as the Z-11WB helicopter on display for the first time this month.

The People’s Republic of China is expected to put new PLA Army multi-role, vertical take-off and landing drones, as well as the Z-11WB helicopter on display for the first time this month.

The reconnaissance and light attack helicopter, first revealed in 2016, and the drones will reportedly be put on static display and be available for public viewing at the 6th China Helicopter Exposition in Tianjin in Northern China from 14 to 17 September.

The expo is also anticipated to debut a wide-body transport helicopter and armed reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicle used for integrated operation.

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More than 350 companies are expected to display 65 helicopters and drones at the national expo, as well as WZ-16 turboshaft and hydrogen fuelled engines to be exhibited for the first time by the Aero Engine Corporation of China.

The People’s Liberation Army will showcase 79 pieces of equipment and focus on advanced capabilities in actual combat, mobile operation, unmanned and manned elements, air-ground combination of attack and defence, according to comments made by PLA Army Equipment Department Senior Colonel Ning Tao, speaking at a press conference earlier this week.

Active service Z-10, Z-19, and Z-20 helicopters, drones and airborne weapons will also be on static display alongside civilian helicopters such as the AC352, AC312, and AC311A.

The expo coincides with recent calls for an increase in new combat capabilities, troop combat readiness, and stronger training by Chinese President Xi Jinping during a visit to the PLA 78th Group Army on 8 September.

The Communist Party of China Central Committee general secretary and Central Military Commission chairman has reportedly encouraged the importance of strengthening CCP building, maintenance of integrity, and armed forces unity.

The PRC is also currently continuing a month-long campaign for national defence education for the general public during September to promote contribution to national defence.

The campaign includes national activities, lectures, university defence education, and open-day events at military barracks as well as the celebration of National Defense Education Day on the third Saturday of the month.

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