Friday, August 01, 2008
Few days ago, I posted news about Z-9D
Date Posted: 01-Aug-2008
Jane's Defence Weekly
China rolls out naval variant of Z-9 helo armed with new anti-ship missile
Robert Hewson Jane's Air-Launched Weapons Editor
A recent image of the prototype Z-9D appears to show it armed with a Hongdu TL-10 missile
With the Z-9D prototype carrying full PLA markings it appears that the TL-10 is intended for Chinese service
A new armed naval variant of China's Z-9 helicopter has been rolled out, fitted with a new anti-ship missile.
Developed from Harbin's Z-9C shipboard helicopter, already in service with the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, the latest aircraft is designated Z-9D. An image taken recently at the Harbin Aircraft Industry Group facility in the northeastern city of Harbin, Heilongjiang Province, shows what appears to be the prototype Z-9D armed with a Hongdu radar-guided TL-10B (KJ-10B) missile. This is the first time that an anti-ship missile has been seen on a Chinese naval helicopter. The image also confirms that the air-launched TL-10 programme is moving forward to deployment.
The TL-10 missile family first appeared in public as a ship-launched weapon (JJ-10) in 2004. In 2006, its manufacturer, the Hongdu Aviation Industry Group, showed the air-launched version (KJ-10). The TL-10 series is a modern, lightweight anti-ship missile system with a 30 kg armour-piercing warhead. It is a rocket-powered, relatively high speed (M0.85) weapon with a maximum range of about 18 km when air launched.
Perhaps the most significant aspect of the TL-10 programme is that it has been developed in co-operation with Iran. The Iranian Aerospace Industries Organisation claims to have produced a weapon that is identical to the TL-10, which it calls Kosar. For its part, Hongdu notes that the TL-10 is an export product that has already been delivered to an overseas customer. Initial deliveries - to Iran - covered shipboard missiles only. The emergence of the Z-9D/TL-10 combination indicates that a new phase in the programme has begun.
As well as the radar-guided TL-10B, a version with an electro-optical seeker (TL-10A) is also available. In the past, Hongdu has exhibited mock-ups of the TL-10A fitted to its L-15 trainer and light attack aircraft. The air-launched KJ-10 was conceived from the outset as a helicopter weapon and the Z-9 is an ideal platform. Weighing 105 kg per round, up to four KJ-10Bs could be carried by a Z-9D, although the standard load is likely to be two missiles.
The basic maritime Z-9C helicopter has a sea search radar in its nose. It is not known if this equipment has been upgraded or changed completely to better support the KJ-10's targeting requirements on the Z-9D.
With the Z-9D prototype carrying full PLA markings it appears that the TL-10 is intended for Chinese service, but both helicopter and missile should equally be available for export.
In Iran, HESA (the Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industrial Company) has drawn up concepts for an armed, up-engined Shahed 478 helicopter that could carry a missile in the TL-10/Kosar class. However, as this remains a speculative design for the moment it is possible that Iran might become a Z-9D customer also. Iran has already shown some acumen in adopting Chinese missile systems for its own helicopters, equipping Mil Mi-17s with the C-802KD anti-ship missile.
The newly rolled out Z-9D shipboard helicopter seen at the Harbin plant with a TL-10B (KJ-10B) anti-ship missile (Via Chinese internet)
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