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Harbin Z-19 (Black Whirlwind) (WZ-19)


Reconnaissance / Light-Attack Helicopter


Aviation / Aerospace

The Harbin Z-19 is a heavily modified attack helicopter version of the Harbin Z-9 transport series.



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 7/6/2020 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
China garnered much experience in the license production of the French-made Eurocopter AS365 "Dauphin" (which it produced as the "Z-9" under the Harbin Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation label). Thought eventually turned to an armed variant of the type, keeping the general design largely intact though instituting several notable changes including armament pylons and applicable tracking / engagement equipment. From this was born the "Z-19", a dedicated attack helicopter with "stealth" qualities intended to work in conjunction with upcoming Z-10 attack helicopter units. The Z-19 has entered operational service with Chinese forces and has recorded its first-flight in May of 2010. One of the prototypes was lost to an accident sometime in September of 2010 during testing which has delayed development to an extent.

At its core, the Harbin Z-19 comparable in capabilities to current-generation attack helos such as the American Hughes AH-64 "Apache" and the Russian Mil Mi-28 "Havoc" - though more akin in mission scope to the USMC Bell AH-1 "Viper", a highly modernized version of the Vietnam War-era "Cobra" attack platform. As such, it follows conventional wisdom in its design configuration with the two pilots seated in tandem - the primary pilot in the rear elevated cockpit with the weapons officer in the front cockpit. Avionics will feature the latest in Chinese fly-by-wire technology, processing systems and digital functions seen in newer indigenous military aircraft (essentially evolved from their original Soviet/Russian origins). As the Z-19 is built from the French AS365/Chinese Z-9, it shares roughly the same tail unit structure and engine placement - the key defining physical feature of the Z-19 being its stepped cockpit and slim fuselage design. A chin turret holds various optical equipment (TV, FLIR, Laser Rangefinder) while the undercarriage is fixed with two main legs emerging from the fuselage sides and a tail wheel supporting the aft structure. The engines are mounted high and away from the ground to help reduce heat signature and this is further assisted by special dampeners fitted at the exhaust ports. The empennage is nearly identical to that as found on the Z-9 with its shrouded Fenestron tail rotor, high-reaching main vertical tail fin and a pair of vertical stabilizers supported on short pylons along the tail stem. The dual engine layout powers the four-blade main rotor as well as the shrouded tail rotor in a conventional fashion. Armament will be suspended from wing stubs and provide a flexible ordnance mix consistent with current-generation offerings seen elsewhere. The low-altitude attack nature of the Z-19 ensures that it will feature an armored cockpit for the crew and crash resistant seats for worse case scenarios.

Power for the Z-19 stems from 2 x Zhuzhou Aeroengine Factory WZ-8A turboshaft engines - the same as featured on the Z-9B series and a copy of the French Turbomeca Arriel turboshaft. The engines are rated at 848 horsepower each resulting in a maximum speed estimated at 152 miles per hour with a range out to 435 miles.

In terms of armament, the Z-19 will sport the usual pattern of weaponry common to all modern attack helicopters. This will include various Chinese-made air-to-air missiles, air-to-ground missiles (including anti-tank), rocket pods, gun pods and cannon pods. Hardpoints may also be plumbed for the carrying of external fuel stores for longer sorties. The Z-19 has been mentioned with the HJ-8 anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM) and TY-90 air-to-air missiles as well as a 23mm cannon.

While the upcoming Z-10 is categorized as a "heavy" attack helicopter, the Z-19 will be of the lighter classification. In this way, the Z-19 will be a direct complement to the Z-10 and work in conjunction as a "hunter-killer" team while the Z-19 will also be further utilized in the armored scout role. At any rate, the Chinese Army is certainly broadening its tactical capabilities in the new millennium, intending to show the world that it belongs as a major defense superpower. For the Asia-Pacific region - and the United States for that matter - this certainly stands as a red flag.

The Z-19 is also intended for export customers and these will carry the designation of "WZ-19". Since the Z-19 remains in development and in prototype form as of this writing (2012), it is suspected that service entry will not commence until sometime in 2015 or later as many of the onboard systems will need to pass their various evaluations before being declared fully operational at the military level.

As mentioned, the Chinese Army has also taken to arming their Z-9 family of helicopters in the latest standard "Z-9WZ" guise with an expansive weapons capability giving the PLA a modern attack performer until the more dedicated helo platforms come online.

AVICopter is developing the export-minded version of the Z-19 (as the "WZ-19").



May 2017 - The first-flight of the export-minded Z-19E reconnaissance-attack helicopter variant was recorded.

October 2018 - Batch production of the export-minded Z-19E is set to begin before year's end.

Specifications



Year:
2012
Status
Active, In-Service
Crew
2
[ 200 Units ] :
Harbin Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation / AVICopter - China
National flag of China China
- Ground Attack
- Close-Air Support (CAS)
- Reconnaissance (RECCE)
(Showcased structural dimension values pertain to the Harbin Z-19 production model)
Empty Weight:
5,181 lb (2,350 kg)
MTOW:
9,921 lb (4,500 kg)
(Diff: +4,740lb)
(Showcased weight values pertain to the Harbin Z-19 production model)
2 x WZ8A turboshaft engines developing 848 horsepower to four-bladed main rotor system and fenestron tail rotor.
(Showcased powerplant information pertains to the Harbin Z-19 production model)
Max Speed:
152 mph (245 kph; 132 kts)
Max Range:
435 miles (700 km; 378 nm)
Rate-of-Climb:
1,800 ft/min (549 m/min)
(Showcased performance values pertain to the Harbin Z-19 production model; Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database)
Variable based on mission parameters and set about conventional wing stub pylons:

"Blue Arrow-9" Anti-Tank Guided-Missiles (ATGMs), TY-90 Air-to-Air Missiles (AAMs), HJ-8 ATGMs, rocket pods (unguided), cannon pods and gun pods supported.
(Showcased armament details pertain to the Harbin Z-19 production model)
Z-19 - Base Series Designation
Z-19E - Export model
WZ-19 - Alternative designation
General Assessment
Firepower  
Performance  
Survivability  
Versatility  
Impact  


Values are derrived from a variety of categories related to the design, overall function, and historical influence of this aircraft in aviation history.
Overall Rating
The overall rating takes into account over 60 individual factors related to this aircraft entry. The rating is out of a possible 100.
66
Relative Maximum Speed
Hi: 200mph
Lo: 100mph
This entry's maximum listed speed (152mph).

Graph average of 150 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LDN
LDN
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MSK
MSK
 
  TKY
TKY
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Harbin Z-19 operational range when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era Span
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
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Pie graph section
Showcasing era cross-over of this aircraft design.
Unit Production (200)
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
200
200

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


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