May 25, 2015: Strategy Page
Pakistan has apparently received the first three of twenty Chinese WZ-10 helicopter gunships. Pictures of two of them together have appeared. These first three were announced as a gift and were quickly delivered so Pakistan could try them out. This appears to have led to an order for 17 more. Or not, as the WZ-10 sale has been kept quiet. If Pakistan does buy 17 more WZ-10s it would be the first export customer. The sale is apparently a done deal as Pakistan is to receive two more WZ-10s by the end of the year.
China has been developing the 7 ton WZ-10 helicopter gunship since the 1990s. After 14 years of development there were several prototypes and a lot of unresolved problems. Attempts to buy or steal helicopter gunship technology from Russia and South Africa failed. In 2010 some of the prototypes were sent to Chinese Army aviation units for field testing. While not a failure, there were problems and at one point the WZ-10 was in danger of being abandoned. The Chinese persevered and fixed most of the defects by 2012 and put WZ-10 into production. The WZ-10 is armed with an autocannon (23mm to 30mm) and has four hard points that can carry 16 HJ10 laser guided missiles (similar to Hellfire) or even more unguided rockets.
Meanwhile China also put the smaller (4.5 ton) WZ-19 armed scout helicopter into production, partly as a backup if the WZ-10 failed. China wanted something more like the American AH-64 Apache and the WZ-10 was equipped to operate like the AH-64 or earlier AH-1 (which Pakistan has been using for a long time). The WZ-19 has been spotted in the air since 2010 and by 2012 was seen painted in military colors, meaning it was out of development and in service. The WZ-19 was earlier known as the Z-9W. The WZ-19 is yet another Chinese helicopter based on the Eurocopter Dauphin (which has been built under license in China since the 1990s. The WZ-19 is a 4.5 ton, two seat armed helicopter. It can carry a 23mm autocannon and up to a ton of munitions (missiles, usually). Cruising speed is 245 kilometers an hour and range is 700 kilometers. The WZ-19 is basically an upgraded Z-9W.