China is constructing a new helicopter-plane hybrid that could add to the country’s military forces, according to a recent report by Global Times newspaper.
The designer of the Chinese CAIC Z-10 attack helicopter, Wu Ximing, emphasized that the new helicopter must fit China’s unique needs instead of simply copying foreign designs. Wu stated that the aircraft must integrate with China’s current and future development, along with technological development, so that it remains relevant even 20-30 years into the future.
While Wu did not disclose any details about the new helicopter, a concept model reveals a sleek design that blends elements of both helicopters and airplanes. The model features two sets of rotors on top of the aircraft and propellers on the wings.
The US is also working on its own next-generation helicopter-plane hybrid, known as the Future Long Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA), which bears a striking resemblance to the Chinese model. The FLRAA is a tiltrotor aircraft that can offer the speed of a plane with the vertical landing ability of a helicopter. The US Army plans to replace a portion of its UH-60 Black Hawk fleet with the FLRAA.
As tensions rise over Taiwan, China’s homegrown aircraft industry is expanding. The country’s leadership has declared that it will increase military spending by over 7% this year due to “escalating” threats. Recently, the US Navy and Chinese aircraft have been involved in tense encounters. A US Navy P-8A Poseidon reconnaissance plane flying over the Taiwan Strait was intercepted by a heavily armed Chinese jet, which escorted it for 15 minutes before turning away.
In addition, a new type of stealth plane known as the J-35 has been featured in a recruiting video for the Chinese service arm. The aerodynamic design of the J-35 includes folding wings, which are useful for fitting on an aircraft carrier’s crowded deck.
Looking forward, China’s future fighters may have sixth-generation capabilities, including stealth. A recent design for a Chinese fighter aircraft appears to lack a tail and could potentially wield energy weapons and hypersonic missiles.
China is constructing a new helicopter-plane hybrid designed to meet its unique military needs. As tensions rise over Taiwan, China is expanding its homegrown aircraft industry and increasing military spending. The country is also developing new types of stealth planes, which could potentially pose a threat to US aircraft in the future.