An unnamed new Chinese military helicopter has made its maiden flight and is expected to improve China's air combat capability, experts said.
The helicopter is equipped with a newly developed fuel system, according to an article published by the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) on WeChat.
"The innovative design of the fuel system, which can be either installed inside or hung under the short wing, can save aircraft space and thus extend voyage time," Wang Yanan, chief editor of Aerospace Knowledge magazine, told the Global Times on Wednesday.
According to the article, the helicopter completed its first flight in Jingdezhen, China's Jiangxi Province in 2017, and China owns complete independent intellectual property rights.
But the article did not name the new type of helicopter or elaborate on its application.
"According to the limited information released, it is highly possible that it is a medium-sized military helicopter for transportation, and the new design can increase its combat capability," said Wang.
Xi Yazhou, an independent military observer and commentator, speculated that the new helicopter was likely to be the Changhe Z-8, which was said to be under development last year.
It was also the first time the CFD system was used in a test flight, which indicates that the helicopter design could be completely homegrown, unlike China's other series of helicopters such as the Dauphin, which was derived from foreign designs, according to Wang.
"CFD is short for Computational Fluid Dynamics, where the flight process of the helicopter can be simulated on computer so that the flight status can be observed ahead of a real trial flight, reducing risks in research and development," Wang said.
"China has a complete and relatively advanced helicopter industry, but it still needs further development to bridge the gap with other advanced countries," Wang said.