US-Turkish Gap: China decides to sell Z-10ME Helos to Pakistan

Sources state that Turkey lost a deal with Pakistan for nearly $1.5 billion. This amount is likely to be diverted to China.

Pakistani Ministry of Defense reports that a deal to buy 30 ATAK-2 helicopters from Turkey has failed due to the US refusal to issue an export license for the engines that power Turkish aircraft. This turn of events made Islamabad approach Beijing to ask for an offer to buy the Chinese Z-10ME attack helicopter, which is the equivalent of both the Turkish ATAK-2 and Boeing’s AH-64 Apache.

Turkey’s current situation

Sources state that Turkey lost a deal with Pakistan for nearly $1.5 billion. This amount is likely to be diverted to China. However, it’s ironic that two NATO members have not reached an agreement and will thus allow an “enemy of the United States” to sell its weapons system.

It is pertinent to mention that Turkey received economic sanctions for refusing to abandon the deal to buy Russian S-400 anti-aircraft systems. In addition, Washington expelled Ankara from the fifth-generation F-35 stealth fighter program when the Turks had ordered nearly 100 fighter jets and their pilots were training in the United States.

About the CAIC Z-10 helicopter

The Chinese helicopter CAIC Z-10 made its first test flight in 2003 and was officially presented to the world in 2012. Significantly new product CAIC Z-10 is in service in the Chinese army, and so far, a little over 150 units have been produced.

The model that China offers to Pakistan, Z-10ME, is the latest product in this category, which was updated in 2018. Z-10ME already has active and passive countermeasures, missile systems, radar warning receivers.

The helicopter has updated armored panels, reduced infrared signal thanks to new exhaust nozzles and their changed degree of decay, and new filtering systems. The engine of the Z-10ME reaches a power of 1200 kW.

The armament of the Z-10ME is similar to that of the CAIC Z-10. Still, after the upgrade, the helicopter was able to transport and use more ammunition, application panels, infrared silencer, and brand new development of IFF interrogator.

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