Following more three years of testing, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) accepted into service the Z-18A medium transport helicopters.
According to CCTV reports, the first Z-18A helicopter developed by Changhe Aircraft Industries Corporation (CAIC) was formal acceptance into service of PLA in 2017.
The Z-18A is a domestically developed medium transport helicopter. It can carry up to 30 passengers and has a range of about 1,000 kilometers. Alternatively, it can carry about 14 stretchers, plus medical attendants. The Z-18A is more powerful than the earlier Z-8B model or the MI-171 helicopter manufactured by Russia.
The Z-18 uses composite materials for the rotor blade and titanium main rotor. It is equipped with a modern integrated digital avionics system and advanced electronic flight instrument landing system.
The helicopter can operate during both daytime and nighttime and can fly in extreme weather conditions.
The army version of Z-18 has a further protruding nose section. A terrain-following radar is fitted under the nose. It is expected to replace the old Z-8A.