Pakistan's Z-10s. www.top81.cn
Pakistan recently took delivery of three Z-10 attack helicopters, stored at this hangar in the Qasim Army base near Rawalphindi. The helicopters' state of disassembly suggests that Pakistani technicians are working to quickly familarize themselves with these new helicopters by installing rotor blades and other parts for flight, and then combat.
Since a January 2015 agreement, China has transferred three Z-10 "Thunderbolt" attack helicopters to Pakistan, which has become China's staunchest ally and largest weapons buyer. These three Z-10 helicopters are currently at a Pakistani Army base in Qasim/Dhamial, undergoing testing, maintenance training and modifications for operating in the Khyber mountains.
The Z-10, like other modern attack helicopters, carries a wide variety of missiles and rockets like the HJ-10 anti-tank missile, as well as its 23mm chain gun, which can spit out about 600 8oz shells a minute.
The 7-8 ton Z-10 is similar to other attack helicopters like the AH-64 Apache, Mi-28 Havoc and August Westland Mangusta. With its heavy armament of a 23mm cannon, and over a ton of guided weapons including HJ-10 anti-tank missiles, 57mm rockets and TY-90 air to air missiles, the Z-10 is China's frontline attack helicopter, replacing the Cold War era Z-9.
Flight Prep. www.top81.cn
The Z-10's primary sensor is the round turret on the bottom half of its nose,similar to sensor turrets found on UAVs like the Reaper. The sensor turret carries a variety of cameras, including night vision, electro-optical and infrared imaging.
Z-10 Squadron. Weibo
The PLA currently has at least eight squadrons of Z-10 attack helicopters, for a total of nearly 100 helicopters. If China succeeds in exporting the Z-10 to Pakistan, it would make it a highly competitive export prospect.
Try to catch this Thunderbolt. Xinhui, via China Defense Forum
Attack helicopters are surprisingly agile, as this aerobatic Z-10 sprays off colored smoke and fires flares. While high turn maneuvers and smoke wouldn't fool most modern surface to air missiles like handheld MANPADS, flares can still be effective.