EYE ON THE EAST
The PLA Army Aviation’s Z-8 is an important but little-known helicopter type that evolved from a license-manufactured French design. Long hampered by poor build quality and lack of performance, it’s now one of the service’s most modern and capable medium transport helicopters.
BY ANDREAS RUPPRECHT
AIR WARFARE BRIEFINGS FROM THE ASIA-PACIFIC
FOR MANY YEARS the largest helicopter in People’s Liberation Army (PLA) service, the Z-8 was designed by the No 602 Institute/Changhe Aircraft Industrial Corporation (CHAIC) as a derivative of the French SA321Ja Super Frelon (meaning ‘Super Hornet’), 13 of which were acquired by Beijing in the late 1970s.