WZ-9 PLA Attack Helicopter

WZ-9 PLA Attack Helicopter
An attack helicopter variant has been fielded by the PLA since the early 1990s as the WZ-9 or Z-9W, with pylons fitted for anti-tank missiles. The latest armed version, the Z-9W, was introduced in 2005 and has night attack capabilities, with an under-nose low-light Television and infrared observing and tracking unit. Z-9W was China's first anti-armor attack helicopter that turn into operational with PLA Army. It can be armed With HJ-8A wire-guided ATGMs, or 57mm/90mm rocket pods, or 23mm cannons, or TY-90 IR-guided AAMs.

Harbin Aircraft Manufacture Corporation (HAMC) started to develop an attack variant of its Zhi-9 (Z-9) utility helicopter in the mid-1980s. The prototype was only intended for anti-armor role, carrying a roof-mounted optical sight unit and four HJ-8 anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) under the weapon pylons.

This variant first flew in 1987 and live test fire of the missile from the helicopter took place in 1989. The formal production variant introduced in the early 1990s incorporated using a range of armaments, such as 23mm cannon, 12.7mm machine gun pod, 57/90mm unguided rocket pod, and also TY-90 IR-homing short-range air-to-air missile.

Several dozens of the Z-9W attack helicopters were delivered into the PLA Army Aviation Corps 8th Army Aviation Group (Regiment) subordinated to 38th Group Army in Beijing Military area in the mid-1990s. as a result of the PLA's decision to give high priority into the Army Aviation Corps in its modernisation program, much more units have received the Z-9W after 2000. The total wide range of these helicopter fielded by the PLA is estimated to be 30~40.