Among all the fighting columns of Pakistan Army, Pakistan Army Aviation (PAA) plays one of most important & critical role.
Currently Pakistan Army Aviation operates nearly 400 Fixed Wing and Rotary Wing Aircrafts that includes Bell AH-1F/S Gunship, Mil Mi-35 Hind’s, Mil Mi-17’s, Augusta Westland AW-139, Eurocopter AS550 Fennec, SA330 Puma etc. To replace aging fleet of AH-1F/S Gunship & due to ever changing & evolving geo-strategic requirements and operational demands, Pakistan Army Aviation has decided to acquire China Aircraft Industries Corporation (CAIC) Z-10ME attack helicopters.
Z-10ME is the most advance variant of Z-10 attack helicopter. Following changes are incorporated in Z-10ME from standard Z-10 attack helicopter.
Note: There are almost 300 upgrades which have been incorporated in Z-10ME, some significant ones are mentioned below
¶ Doubled Cannon Capacity.
¶ Better centre of gravity due to central ammo location.
¶ Mast mounted radar (MMR) has been installed on Z-10ME with data link capabilities (MMR of Z-9 most likely to be used in Z-10ME). This will enhance interoperability with PAF And PN.
¶ ATGM (F&F system) with Z-10ME have a range of 15Km.
¶ Upward facing engine exhausts to ensure lesser vulnerabilities to IR based SAMs.
¶ Cockpit & engine protection has been increased through enhanced armor plating.
¶ Target acquisition system has been upgraded with enhanced optics with up to 20km, for firing rockets & Air-Air Missiles (AAM).
¶ Battlefield survivability has been enhanced by radar laser warning systems (RWR) linked with inbuilt jamming suite (EW) and chaff flare dispenser.
¶ Dust protectors have been installed to ensure engine health & life without any adverse effect on engine output & power.
¶ Software architecture is easy to upgrade & is being made compatible for network centric operations with Air Defense and PAF assets.
¶ Z-10ME has built-in interface, to be used over sea and amphibious operations.
¶ HMD is next generation & previous helmet was deemed bulky & not pilot friendly hence new helmet was developed for ME.
¶ Chinese assets are interoperable & can be linked with J-10C, other Chinese systems & naval assets.