|Z-18F weights is 13 tons|
Z-18F is a new large anti-submarine helicopter for the Liaoning aircraft carrier.
People speculate that Z-18 is an improved version of Z-8. It weighs 13 tons and is 23 meters long when its propeller spins. Only the Liaoning and Type 071 LPD are big enough to carry it to conduct various anti-submarine, early warning, search and rescue, and transport missions.
Z-8 helicopter was developed on the basis of SA-321 imported from France in the 1970s. It marked China’s breakthrough in developing large helicopters when it was displayed at Zhuhai Airshow 2004.
Compared with Z-8, Z-18 has been installed with a new type of engine and blades of synthetic material. Its fuselage has been optimized to have improved capability of taking off and landing on high plateau.
As an anti-submarine helicopter, Z-18 can carry more sensors and weapons and have longer range and stay longer in air due to its bigger size. It has a 32-tube sonobuoy launcher, 7 tubes more than that US SH-60 carries. It can carry four 324mm anti-submarine torpedoes or light anti-ship missiles on its two pylons. Major Western anti-submarine helicopters such as SH-60 and MH-90 can only carry two.
In addition there is a quite big hole at the bottom of its fuselage to let down a variable depth sonar a few hundred meter deep to detect submarines at various depth.
In terms of load, navigation, ability in operating under difficult sea conditions, and anti-submarine detection and attack capabilities, only Europe’s EH-101 is a rival to Z-18F, but the former has a better platform than Z-18F.
In addition, due to its big size and loading capacity, Z-18F can do lots of other jobs such as better detection of stealth warships, missile boats, low-flying anti-ship missiles, air pipe and periscope of submarine, etc. due to the heavy antenna it can carry.
Z-18F can also provide early warning and direction and midcourse guidance for long-range anti-ship missiles.
It can carry 30 passengers when it conducts rescue mission.
Source: “Z-18F is a powerful new weapon for China’s huge warship: anti-submarine fire power doubles that of US Seahawk” (summary by Chan Kai Yee)