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Harbin Z-20

Multi-Mission Military Helicopter

China | 2018

"The Harbin Z-20 appears to be a Chinese copy and local evolution of the globally popular Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk transport helicopter."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 01/05/2023 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
In 1984, the People's Republic of China procured several examples of the civilian-minded Sikorsky S-70C-2 model. From this, it is widely believed, that Harbin originated its Z-20 medium-lift transport helicopter currently in development for the People's Liberation Army which, in turn, makes the Z-20 the unlicensed Chinese version of the American Sikorsky UH-60 "Black Hawk" transport helicopter. First flight was recorded on December 23rd, 2013 and the project remains in the prototype stages as of February 2014.

For the PLA, the Z-20 will fulfill the same tactical roles as does the UH-60 for the US Army and others worldwide. It is a transport at heart, capable of hauling some thousands of pounds of cargos over distance. In addition to the perceived cargo transport role, the Z-20 will, of course, be in charge of hauling PLA warfighters to and from warzones. The overall configuration and general form is very similar to the American Black Hawk with a few minor differences. One key difference is in the design's reliance on a five-bladed main rotor assembly as opposed to the four-bladed arrangement seen on the UH-60 family. Other than that, the Z-20 maintains a forward set two-seat cockpit with redundant controls, a mid-set passenger cabin and a top mounted dual-engine configuration driving the main rotor and a tail rotor system. The undercarriage remains wheeled and two sliding doors provide the necessary access to the passenger area. As with American UH-60s, the Z-20 is expected to be armed with general purpose machine guns for point defense of embarking/disembarking troops.

Due to the project's early-stage presence, it remains to be seen the capabilities and impact that the line will have in the inventory of the PLA. Of course, it will undoubtedly be selected to replace outgoing, Soviet-era designs in time. The Chinese will also utilize the Z-20 as an over-water transport and field it from its new (and only) aircraft carrier - the Liaoning (commissioned in 2012).

It is worth noting the reports of Pakistani officials granting the Chinese time with the remains of the UH-60 "Stealth Hawk" which was destroyed during the assault on Osama Bin Laden's compound. Information garnered from the remaining components may have very well played a role in the Z-20's development though this will only become known over time - particularly once the Z-20 enters formal service with the PLA.

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October 2019 - The Z-20 transport helicopter was featured in the October 1st, 2019 National Day parade in China.

November 2020 - Image of a Z-20 helicopter have emerged from China showing a navalized variant possibly equipped for the Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) role.

Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Harbin Z-20 Multi-Mission Military Helicopter.
2 x Turboshaft engines driving a five-bladed main rotor and four-bladed tail rotor.
171 mph
275 kph | 148 kts
Max Speed
18,045 ft
5,500 m | 3 miles
Service Ceiling
348 miles
560 km | 302 nm
Operational Range
1,400 ft/min
427 m/min
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Harbin Z-20 Multi-Mission Military Helicopter.
49.2 ft
15.00 m
O/A Length
52.5 ft
(16.00 m)
O/A Width
11.5 ft
(3.50 m)
O/A Height
11,023 lb
(5,000 kg)
Empty Weight
22,046 lb
(10,000 kg)
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected below are altitude, speed, and range. The more full the box, the more balanced the design.
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Harbin Z-20 Multi-Mission Military Helicopter .
Support for door-mounted general purpose machine guns is assumed.
Notable series variants as part of the Harbin Z-20 family line.
Z-20 - Base Series Designation.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Harbin Z-20. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 50 Units

Contractor(s): Harbin - China
National flag of China

[ China ]
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Image of the Harbin Z-20
Image released to the Public by the Chinese Ministry of Defense.
2 / 3
Image of the Harbin Z-20
Image released to the Public by the Chinese Ministry of Defense.
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Image of the Harbin Z-20
Image released to the Public by the Chinese Ministry of Defense.

Developments of similar form-and-function, or related, to the Harbin Z-20 Multi-Mission Military Helicopter.
Going Further...
The Harbin Z-20 Multi-Mission Military Helicopter appears in the following collections:
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