Home » Weapons » Arms Trade » Friday Eye Candy: China’s Newest Attack Helo

Friday Eye Candy: China’s Newest Attack Helo

by John Reed on February 3, 2012

Check out these latest photos of China’s newest attack helo, the Z-19. The twin-seat bird, an updated version of the Z-9W that’s been in service since the 1990s, is just one more example of China’s military modernization.

If the chopper’s lines look vaguely familiar, it’s because the bird is based on the Eurocopter Dauphin series, you know, the same ones the U.S. Coast Guard flies. The Z-9 series are licence-built versions of the Dauphin. Now Beijing  has modified it into an attack helo.

Click through the jump for more pics.

Via China Defense Blog.




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{ 138 comments… read them below or add one }

Mitch S. February 3, 2012 at 10:23 am

Well if for attack helos "uglier is better" then this should be superb.


blight February 3, 2012 at 10:33 am

Then it's good that the Comanche wasn't an attack helo.
Also, ugly Russian attack helos would be good.


Tron February 3, 2012 at 5:29 pm

yea this thing is the undisputed champ


carloscardoso February 3, 2012 at 10:35 am

Nice training target. Almost worth an AIM-120. Almost.


ddd February 4, 2012 at 4:58 pm

Use a blow dart against it


passingby February 11, 2012 at 9:20 pm

how did you get 79p with worthless brainless 1-liners and 2-liners???


blight February 11, 2012 at 9:24 pm

Or net positive thumbs up.

"China has helicopters. Let's buy four thousand Comanches"

If I had an account, maybe I'd get points for the above.


passingby February 13, 2012 at 4:49 am

Yep. And if your pitch becomes reality, you will get invited to a formal by Boeing and Sikorsky, where you will likely be presented with a big envelope with some really nice offers in it. I don't know the going rate of top lobbyists but I wouldn't be surprised by a 7-digit check, plus a consultant contract with at least a 7-digit annual remuneration plus generous expenses and bonuses.


ARMY_JAG February 3, 2012 at 10:43 am

Unfortunately, these come standard with Chinese pilots as well.


SJE February 3, 2012 at 5:00 pm

I seem to recall the USA saying the same thing about the Japanese and their domestic-designed and built Zeros, until they actually encountered them in combat.


major.rod February 3, 2012 at 5:47 pm

Was that before or after the Hellcat was introduced?


UAVgeek February 3, 2012 at 5:53 pm

Before. By the time the Hellcat was introduced, a large percentage of Japan's most experienced Naval Aviators were killed at Midway. Before June of 1942 Japan had the best Naval Air Force in the world. The lesson is relying on cultural heritage, physical stature or past history to make decisions on competence is a huge (and frankly racist) Mistake.


tiger February 4, 2012 at 5:22 am

It's the great white hype. Still thinking nobody else on Earth can do anything. Good reminder UAVGeek.

major.rod February 4, 2012 at 7:05 pm

So the cream of Japan's crop was shot down by aircraft they outclassed? (It's rhetorical). My comment was an aside to SJE.

This isn't a racist thing though some seem to be making it so. Chinese pilots are not known for their skill. The N. Koreans and Vietnamese had Russians filling in and they still got beat and sometimes by pilots in clearly outclassed aircraft. There are examples of P51's and Skyraiders shooting down migs. Maybe those trying to make a case for racism might want to consider that US pilots have shown themselves to be more than competent.

blight February 4, 2012 at 2:23 pm

We can't say much about how the PLAGAF trains their helicopter pilots. When they start doing more overseas stuff like peacekeeping, they will pick up valuable on-the-job combat experience without the risks of nation-state warfare. Perhaps we'll see them soon, especially around Somalia.


blight February 3, 2012 at 11:11 am

That said, the shaping is reminiscent of the Comanche.


Guest February 3, 2012 at 11:14 am

Not bad. I dig the all black paint job.

@ All the dismissive comments: NONE of us can really judge the quality of modern PLA tech because NONE of use have every had first hand experience with it. But I would wager that a nation that has build maglev trains and has a successful manned and unmanned space program is probably more than capable of making a decent helicopter.


Trimaran February 3, 2012 at 7:38 pm

With technology stolen from the Germans yes..


blight February 4, 2012 at 2:19 pm

Thought they were still using Siemens maglevs. The espionage hasn't begun yet?

Then again, they are building a Shanghai-Hanzhou maglev…so we'll see.


major.rod February 4, 2012 at 7:16 pm

This isn't a race thing folks and those trying to make it so are guilty of injecting emotion when short of facts.

Name some native Chinese technology or a world class chinese originated tank, sub, jet etc.

You may not like it but China has no problem copying or stealing other countries tech so spare the "racist outrage". BTW, look around, America has more successful aisans than China has succesful Americans. Whose the racist?


justsaying February 6, 2012 at 10:40 am

I think the J-20 would likely be considered world class as it is only one of three fifth generation fighters.

UAVgeek February 6, 2012 at 5:30 pm

Foxconn anyone?

voyager2k February 5, 2012 at 5:27 pm

One must remember the Chinese Military has zero, nada, zilch, combat experience, basically a military for "Show." Remember back to when the US feared the MIG until Victor Belinko flew one to Japan. Once we studied it we realized it was not the technical marvel we thought it was. Let's wait until we see what this toy can do. Also remember the Chinese have had high speed rail accidents, killing people, due to incompetence, bad planning and more. The Chinese admitted they could not match the Japanese record of no deaths in over 40 years of high speed rail operations. The Chinese have a long way to go to match other countries.


blight February 5, 2012 at 6:05 pm

Can't think of *any* country on the planet that can match their high-speed train record. They should be given heavy props for rebuilding their country after WW2 and being ambitious enough to be the first to deploy HST within two decades.


justsaying February 6, 2012 at 10:43 am

Interesting how the same people who say that China has both a military for show also beat their war drums and trumpet the nation as a huge military threat to the world.

Cognitive dissonance is the order of the day.


Ted February 6, 2012 at 2:08 pm

Wreście ktoś coś mądrego napisał o Chinach . Dziękuję Ted,


DougieR February 3, 2012 at 11:22 am

Is NATO still assigning reporting names for Chinese aircraft? Because this one should be the Z-19 "Pufferfish".


blight February 5, 2012 at 3:22 pm

Didn't think anything from the PRC has reporting names, beyond Russian items with Russian reporting names.


-dp February 3, 2012 at 11:31 am

"…The Z-9 series are licence-built versions of the Dauphin…"

At least they are license-built and not straight ripped.


Ryan February 3, 2012 at 11:45 am

So, no gun….?


grnich February 3, 2012 at 11:47 am

Some info here: http://weapons.technology.youngester.com/2010/07/

It can be armed with the HJ-8A wire-guided ATGMs, or 57mm/90mm rocket pods, or 23mm cannons, or TY-90 IR-guided AAMs.


blight February 3, 2012 at 4:34 pm

So that means it'll use gunpods, so you're trading wing hardpoints to gain a gun?


TTe February 4, 2012 at 4:30 am

From it's size that obviously be kinda scout/light attack. Comanche wasn't intended to replace Apache too,right?


Bob February 3, 2012 at 12:24 pm

Looks more like a Eurocopter Tiger in the front with a Dauphin tail boom with the ducted fan.


Jacob February 3, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Whatever happened to the Z-10? (Then again maybe I shouldn't use Battlefield 2 as an expectation for how China's military will look.)


cozine February 3, 2012 at 1:54 pm

Thought the WZ-10 program is still plagued with engine problem, after P&W Canada backed out of the agreement to provide its turboshaft engine, after a friendly reminder from a neighboring country.


Dan Gao February 4, 2012 at 11:32 am

Z-10 is still on. It’s in early production and service I believe. The Chinese have been very secretive about it, though, so reliable information is scarce (unless you are inclined to believe pro-China bots on fanboy forums)


JackBlack February 3, 2012 at 3:08 pm

" So far at least 12 Z-10s of the first batch have entered the service with PLA Army Aviation (S/N LH951xx)"


Riceball February 3, 2012 at 12:47 pm

It may not look like much but it is a start and doesn't look too bad for a first effort at an indigenous attack helo. My guess is that the Chinese are being conservative with their design and taking baby steps, sort of like with their carrier. I'm sure that in another 5 – 10 years we'll see another design come out that will look much more like what come to expect in an attack helo and will almost certainly be much more capable too.


Dan Gao February 4, 2012 at 11:33 am

Z-10 is still on. It’s in early production and service I believe. The Chinese have been very secretive about it, though, so reliable information is scarce (unless you are inclined to believe pro- or anti- China fanboys on YouTube)


Dan Gao February 4, 2012 at 11:47 am

Damn it, why are my posts appearing in doubles? That’ll teach me to post on an iPhone…


Benjamin February 3, 2012 at 1:51 pm

The AH-1 is a successful attack helicopter design and it like the Z-19 was based upon a transport helicopter. There is no reason that the Z-19 will not be a successful design


JackBlack February 3, 2012 at 3:06 pm

and Denel AH-2 Rooivalk


tribulationtime February 3, 2012 at 1:53 pm

OK but….Where is the Carrier?


nary February 3, 2012 at 2:00 pm

World, meet the real Superpower nation…


Belesari February 3, 2012 at 2:34 pm

LOL yea. Lets check…
Funding: Devaluing its currency to the dollar and huge amounts of basic slave labor, basicly funded by US debt, HUGE civil unrest and debt pilling up.
Space pro: Basicly US rocket technology (thanks bill Clinton). Still in the process of stealing the rest.
Defense: Gathering ability but over all still problems with massive corruption and old equipment. Oh yea and most of it is still bought or stolen from other countries.

Its funny. This new super power seems to be alot like any other….it just has over a billion people living in it.

BTW: alot of china's engineers, scientist are trained at US schools so…….


tiger February 4, 2012 at 5:17 am

Meanwhile US kids would rather major in beer drinking, than sit through a Statics & dynamics class.


PeterFoster February 5, 2012 at 3:03 pm

Easy there chubby… you should talk, seeing that your fine, fine fighting force is no match for camel jockeys out of the Middle East… Pathetic is the word for you Yanks these days, isn't it?


STemplar February 5, 2012 at 10:06 pm

Compared to the combined might of the European militaries that couldn't collectively topple a tool like Qaddafi without us? Hahahahahahaha


B Fawbush February 6, 2012 at 11:40 am

says the man from a nation where they cant arm their own Royal Navy…


blight February 3, 2012 at 4:33 pm

In what context?

China is the world's factory, just as Britain and America were. It will be a superpower soon, but it isn't one yet.


tiger February 4, 2012 at 5:28 am

In historical context, they have EQUALED the Industrial revolution of the UK & USA is just 40 years. From Nixon's visit in 1972, they have gone to first world status.


major.rod February 4, 2012 at 7:40 pm

tiger – #1 economy, not yet. #1 military, not close. Man on the moon? No (we've been there a half dozen times). Aircraft carriers? One they are trying to figure out how it works (we have 11).

China is on track. It's not there yet…


justsaying February 6, 2012 at 10:45 am

Yeah, I don't think Apollo ever made it to the moon, much less out of low earth orbit. Man has made it to the moon, but only through black projects that will never be revealed to the unwashed masses.

Jay February 3, 2012 at 2:47 pm

HMMMM…. That tail rotor look really familiar… Almost like the one from the Black Hawk that went down in the Osama bin Laden raid in Pakistan. Coincidence? I think not!!!


JackBlack February 3, 2012 at 3:03 pm

Yes indeed, the raid that happen in 1967, when the French invented that tail rotor.


blight February 3, 2012 at 4:32 pm

It's the tail assembly right off of the Dolphin.

It's like comparing diamonds and pentagons…


tiger February 4, 2012 at 5:29 am

Sorry Jay, wrong bird……


Lance February 3, 2012 at 3:18 pm

Both the Z-9 and this newer Z-19 looks like China took most of the Euro-copters Tiger attack helicopter design into this bird. This looks like s simple new upgraded to the Z-9. But not horribly looking. A AH-64D+ could kick its but though ;).


RCDC February 3, 2012 at 4:10 pm

They might sell it for pennies on the dollar….


Sam February 3, 2012 at 4:44 pm

is there anything they cant copy or steal? the first time i saw the pic it kinda reminded me of a compressed Commanche


tiger February 4, 2012 at 5:31 am

It's not a copy & they stole nothing not available.


STemplar February 3, 2012 at 5:49 pm

Should work fine for suppressing Tibetan and Islamic protestors in Chinese western provinces.


Robert Fritts February 4, 2012 at 10:23 am

When PRC invaded Tibet it took over a country with a disorganized total of 8500 Military or Police forces. These few were tasked with defending and collecting taxes to support the 2.7 million pacifist monks. Now you dont have to be a math major to see a little unbalance, the 317:1 monk to soldier ratio did not work. Maybe something around 20:1 would have been enough todeter the PRC. I see abit of the Obama/Panneta defense model in the old Tibetian structure.


blight February 4, 2012 at 2:22 pm

Ironically an aircraft without an integral machinegun makes the worst APERS aircraft. A Hind with door-mounted miniguns (Gshg-7.62mm; four barrel) and carrying a rifle squad would make the best antipersonnel helicopter.


STemplar February 4, 2012 at 3:00 pm

ehh, I think one or two rockets will convince your average crowd to move.


blight February 4, 2012 at 3:35 pm

Hinds can carry those too.

They've got other things planned. I get the impression of a Light Armed Reconaissance type helicopter, but I'm not sure if there is any ISR gear on these.


STemplar February 4, 2012 at 3:48 pm

I'm being mostly sarcastic.

The Chinese built a helo on license, that's about all. I am always amazed so many people read so much into that. I am particularly amused by the fans that declare them a super power for having built a helo.

TLAM Strike February 4, 2012 at 12:10 am

Dear God! It looks like a Huey Cobra mated with a HH-65 Dolphin!

The Horror!!

NOTE: No cannon! interesting….


Robert A. Fritts February 4, 2012 at 12:48 am

A very compact looking helo. No cannon? I remember there was none on the Mangusta, it was supposed to face armoured formations with TOW or other missles. Six months after its initial use in Somalia the Italians had a nice 20mm installed, funny how real life use can change a system quickly. Also strange that China did not see others go down the no conon path and change.


tiger February 4, 2012 at 5:33 am

Gun pods instead of nose gun. Thus the name light attack helo.


Dan Gao February 4, 2012 at 11:40 am

This appears to be more like an armed scout or light gunship rather than a full on tank killer.


Juuso February 4, 2012 at 6:05 am

Chinese have WZ-10 for that sort of work.


Oudin February 4, 2012 at 1:59 am

I think look like comanche copter, btw congrat for China the real superpower.


major.rod February 4, 2012 at 7:41 pm

from a response to tiger above – #1 economy, not yet. #1 military, not close. Man on the moon? No (we've been there a half dozen times). Aircraft carriers? One they are trying to figure out how it works (we have 11).

China is on track. It's not there yet…

Read more: http://defensetech.org/2012/02/03/friday-eye-cand


blight February 5, 2012 at 3:18 pm

So when south africa finishes their Rooivalk they will become a "real superpower' as well?


William C. February 4, 2012 at 3:30 am

Looks to be more for armed reconnaissance than an actual attack helicopter, at least with that light loadout.


tiger February 4, 2012 at 5:41 am

They are thinking econobx market. If AH-64 is BMW, this is Hyundai.


blight February 5, 2012 at 3:16 pm

You'd think that econobox would look a little more basic, and not be so oriented against hard targets. Then again, not all weapons buyers buy out of pragmatism and will buy to impress (like Gaddafi's FN2000's)


tiger February 6, 2012 at 7:44 am

There is a market out there. Thank about it. Very few nations have Ah-64's or Cobras. Buying USA has a high price & political strings. Russians? Eurocopter? Again Pricey options. So it fills a niche….


Dan Gao February 4, 2012 at 11:43 am

And here lies the problem with 90% of the discussions about the Chinese military, one side makes it seem like China will rule the world in a matter of days, the other scoffs at anything China does like they are a complete joke


tiger February 5, 2012 at 12:44 am

Is China A Joke? Hardly. Out to rule the world? No, Just replacing the old players at the table.


Jonathan H. February 4, 2012 at 7:10 pm

chinese are at it again, copying off military equipments from other nations in the world with no original designs on their own when it comes to modern western weapons system.


West is Dead October 30, 2012 at 5:51 pm

F35 looks like the british harriet jet? or Should i'd said, its a association-copy??


George February 5, 2012 at 5:47 am

This one looks like what the Iranians did, sticking a double tail at the end of a F-5 and calling it a new design. With all the extra weight up in front, this thing will probably be a flying coffin, unless they put in a state-of-the-art FBW system


blight February 5, 2012 at 4:14 pm

From strategypage (http://strategypage.com/htmw/htairfo/articles/20120204.aspx)

"European firms are particularly eager to drop the embargo, and some, like France, are ignoring it. This is done by disregarding the installation of dual-use Western equipment in weapons systems. The latest example is the use of French Arriel 2C engines (built under license in China), for the Z-9WE combat helicopter.
The Arriel 2C engine is only supposed to be used for Chinese civilian helicopters, and is used for over 300 of them. Earlier models of the Z-9 use Chinese designed and built WZ8A engines. These were not satisfactory. So now China is advertising the use of Arriel 2C engines in its Z-9WE combat helicopters.

This use of Western engines in military helicopters is not new. Five years ago China installed Canadian PT6C-67C engines in its Z-10 helicopter gunship. China shrugs off foreign protests at this, and, partly because of this, European military equipment manufacturers are pushing for a lifting of the embargo.

The Z-9 is a license built version of the French AS 365N Dauphin. It's a four ton chopper with a two ton payload. China has built over 200 of the Z-9s and many have been armed (with twin 23mm cannon, torpedoes, anti-tank missiles and air-to-air missiles.)"


passingby February 10, 2012 at 9:30 am

The French are smarter than the Americans in this respect. Make a boatload of money when your technology is still worth something and sought after. Else in 5-10 years, the Chinese will come up with their own engines anyways.


mindmedic February 6, 2012 at 8:31 am

Yeah it's ugly and too small and copied and lower tech. But! if China goes with it… one million helicopters make a powerful weapon.


StrumPanzer February 6, 2012 at 12:47 pm

I'm sure it wouldn't be hard for them to mount a 20mm cannon on the undercarriage.


UAVgeek February 6, 2012 at 5:29 pm

Hence the continuing service of the Mosin-Nagant series of rifles- Killing whoever you want, since 1891.


passingby February 11, 2012 at 9:41 am

Perhaps I didn't make myself clear: I don't have a precise A-A record for F-105, other than that it had a poor loss-exchange-ratio against the MiGs, which is true.

USAF claims that a total of around 340 F-105s were lost in enemy action (incl. AAA, SAMs, air combats) in the Vietnam War. Plus maybe another 60 or so in accidents.

Vietnamese/Chinese/Soviet figures were higher.

You may verify the figures online.


Flynn February 23, 2012 at 12:31 pm

yup, they should stick to Kung Fu for defense and modern weapons systems.


Da_Bunny February 28, 2012 at 4:13 am

Probably not enough useful payload to mount a gun after you add up two pilots, weapons, fuel, guidance systems, countermeasures….it's called a light gunship for a reason.


Redcoat March 15, 2012 at 1:07 am

As a solid AH is already fielded by the PLAAF, the Z 10, why would the Chinese want a light role AH? Carries less ordanace and will be less armoured. Besides the obvious priority units stationed near Beijing, Does any one have an idea which units would recieve these platforms?


blight February 3, 2012 at 1:43 pm

That would be on their bullet train system, not the maglev.

Accidents happen. DC's subway system had an interesting summer of 2009, for example (the one summer I work in Bethesda…)


Rodrigo February 3, 2012 at 10:50 pm

"Then why did they weld add-ons to a 30+ year old French design?"

Bayonets are still in use and its the same kinda of tech used long before recorded history


Klevis February 4, 2012 at 10:07 am

I am not saying that the "white hype" is a good thing because it makes us lazy and less competitive in the future, but yours is not a good example to counter that. Most probably Japan had used German technology during the 30' because they were allies with them, so most of it was still "white" technology. As a matter of fact the "white hype" continues deeper in history then the 30's. It begun when we got free from the church in the 16 century.


Dan Gao February 4, 2012 at 11:23 am

Wow, they had an accident with their trains. I guess that must mean that they are the biggest stoopid doo doo heads in the world right? Yeah at least we never have any accidents with our non-existent maglevs or high speed rails…

Seriously people, some of you act like the Chinese are somehow genetically incapable of making advanced weapons, like that is the exclusive domain of us and us alone. It’s true that for many years the PLA has used second rate tech, but now they have the money and the will to change that. For all we know this helo could be a total POS, or it could be top rate. As said above none of us can really say. It’s probably no Apache, but it’s likely capable of doing some serious damage.


Dan Gao February 4, 2012 at 11:23 am

Wow, they had an accident with their trains. I guess that must mean that they are the biggest stoopid doo doo heads in the world right?

Seriously people, some of you act like the Chinese are somehow genetically incapable of making advanced weapons, like that is the exclusive domain of us and us alone. It’s true that for many years the PLA has used second rate tech, but now they have the money and the will to change that. For all we know this helo could be a total POS, or it could be top rate. As said above none of us can really say. It’s probably no Apache, but it’s likely capable of doing some serious damage.


Dan Gao February 4, 2012 at 11:24 am

With the exception of the Osprey and the Lakota, all of our hel


Dan Gao February 4, 2012 at 11:29 am

With the exception of the Osprey and the Lakota, all of our helos are based on 70s designs (or older) so by that logic US Army aviation must be terrible as well, right?

This dismissive and arrogant attitude could bite us in the *** someday. People dismissed Soviet technological skill in the early Cold War, and then they beat us into space.


blight February 4, 2012 at 2:34 pm

The Meiji restoration was built on a kitbash of British, American, French and German technology and military training. They synthesized everything and went through their phases. They did the juene ecole and used torpedo boats against the Russians, did their battleship phase against them in the same war. The whole destroyer-torpedo-boat thing is an extension of the juene ecole phase inherited from French military advisors.


UAVgeek February 6, 2012 at 5:24 pm

Excuse me, but technology has no inherent connection with race. In fact what you say is categorically false. Please name examples of German technologies that were used as fielded weapons by Japan (I can think of one, specifically an engine). That being said considering that Japan and Germany were allies there was a pitifully small amount of technological crossflow. Think about what would have happened if the Luftwaffe had been flying Mitsubishi A6M2s with their great range in the Battle of Britain instead of the ME-109? You cannot chalk the advancements up to "white" technology alone. Technology is simply a means to solve a particular problem and all sides in WWII benefited from the Aeronautical development around the world in the 1930s.


Thinking_ExUSAF February 9, 2012 at 10:30 am

While there were some examples of German aircraft technology filtering in during the war, the Zero was, I think, very much a domestic product. When compared to the western designs of the time, the Zero was grossly underpowered, under-armored, but highly maneuverable and with a rather heavy armament (2 X .30 machine guns + 2 X 20mm cannon). It was a flying epitome of the Japanese Samarai mindset, doing away with self-sealing tanks and cockpit armor for the sake of the offensive capability and range.

For a fairly detailed description of German influence on Japanese aircraft design, check out:


blight February 4, 2012 at 3:56 pm

They built the Dolphins on license, and this is something more. Not sure how much more.

But China imported a carrier from overseas and is fitting it out. Therefore they are a superpower. They've had nuclear weapons for some time, and while that gives them power, does that make them a superpower? Hmm.


Juuso February 4, 2012 at 4:19 pm

USA refuses to sell new F-16′s to Taiwan because that would make mainlanders angry, and it will not change even if GOP candidate would be next president.

Yeah, they are some kinda power.


STemplar February 4, 2012 at 10:18 pm

If you feel the need to apply labels so be it. I personally think it's all very over hyped.


Blight February 4, 2012 at 5:45 pm

We stopped giving them goodies after Nixon. They should be grateful for Kidds and Sprucans?


blight February 4, 2012 at 9:46 pm

You forgot the Corsair in the Korean War that shot down a Mig.

Then again, American pilots went down over Vietnam not out of competence, but because of ROE and poor quality missiles; or being asked to pull crazy missions (Iron Hand) in the face of a well-prepared enemy.


tiger February 5, 2012 at 12:26 am

So the cream of Japan's crop was shot down by aircraft they outclassed?

No, They had their carriers sunk & went down with them. As for the tone? Depends on the ear. As for skills? It's not 1950 anymore. Underestimation of a adversary can be fatal.


passingby February 7, 2012 at 1:09 pm

major.rod, you got all the facts wrong – the cream of Japan's crop wasn't shot down by American pilots, and the US lost the majority of air combats in Vietnam. In fact, US pilots were ordered to avoid dogfights after a series of heavy losses. Instead they would run upon encounter and re-engage only if they determined that enemy pilots were inexperienced in over-pursuing without due consideration of fuel. Even in the Korean War, some US veteran pilots got floored by Chinese pilots with less than 50 flying hours. Remember China didn't have a real air force back then. In both wars, the US lost more aircraft than all the opponents combined times 2 or 3. The US enjoyed superiority in quantity and quality of aircraft, but not in actual combat results. Understandably, the US military fudged numbers of aircraft losses for propaganda purposes. Just like it did on numbers of troops killed in action.


Thinking_ExUSAF February 9, 2012 at 10:34 am

I think that these days, thanks to the fall of the wall, we know a bit more about the Russian involvement, particularly in Korea. There, the N. Koreans did in fact have a hard time with the F-86s, but the Russian pilots were at least an even match in their MiG-15s. It all comes down to experience and skill, not racial origins.

Fighter aces get to be aces largely by preying on "nuggets" , no matter what aircraft they happen to be flying or what roundel is on the wings.


blight February 4, 2012 at 11:50 pm

It's only a transition to a multipolar world. No big deal, human history has had many decades and centuries of multipolarity.


justsaying February 6, 2012 at 10:49 am

"hand over the title of the largest airline in the world to China"
That seems to be a major rationale in your mind for not expanding rail. Quite frankly I'm reminded of preschool.


UAVgeek February 6, 2012 at 5:28 pm

The key thing in combat is 1. Training and 2. Resources. The USA was in a unique position of being geographically isolated from most of the warzones of the 20th century. It's a lot easier to conduct training flights (and producing quality) when your country's industry is producing advanced, high octane fuels, and you don't have to worry about your flying cadets being shot down by enemy fighters.


NKC February 6, 2012 at 6:29 pm

Foxconn mostly just assembles parts from other places.


passingby February 10, 2012 at 9:19 am

Isn't Foxconn a Taiwanese company? Many have alleged that it might be committing crimes against humanity with its horrible working conditions and cruel treatment of slave-like workers. The Taiwanese capitalists are not known for good-manners, culture or generosity.


major.rod February 7, 2012 at 1:33 am

They may have lost more pilots to drowning than air combat at Midway but that was hardly all of their veteran pilots. There were many other battles. Ever heard of the Marianas Turkey shoot? When 600 of 750 airplanes get shot down you have a problem. The thread was about Chinese pilots, then someone tossed in the superiority of the zero that lasted for less than a year.

There's a reason the Air Force and the Navy have always had a lopsided exchange rate with our enemies. Some way want to attack American pride as arrogance. The "scoreboard" is pretty good proof to be a tad cocky. Some hate winners, look at the NY Yankees. Most of the detractors are Red Sox and Cubs fans.


UAVgeek February 7, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Major, why don't you analyze how many avg flying hours the pilots that died at the Marianas had at the time they were shot down? Remember what George Washington said "Even Minutiae should have a place in our collection for those things of an even trifling nature when enjoined with those of a more serious cast, may lead to valuable conclusions". When you can't train pilots fast enough to replace those killed you lose. It's not about any kind of inherent superiority. If they can make enough machines and men alike to be competitive they can at least contest your superiority.


passingby February 7, 2012 at 1:23 pm

major.rod, here's the problem – your scoreboard numbers are not real. There are occasions when US pilots dominate but only against small, weak countries like Iraq, Libya, and South American banana republics. There is nothing new about fudging casualty stats – the US military has been doing that since the Civil War. You just can't trust those numbers.


UAVgeek February 7, 2012 at 1:04 pm

You either are a moron if that's what you think. Do you even work anywhere near the technology industry?


Thinking_ExUSAF February 9, 2012 at 10:39 am

You have to look HARD at the numbers for things to make sense, but let me take a swing at it. A US fighter aircraft in Korea or Vietnam had to deal with the MiGs, but since most were also sent north on attack missions they also had to deal with the AAA. The AAA, particularly in Vietnam was quite lethal. If you break out the numbers of US A/C lost in air-to-air combat vs the N. Korean, Vietnamese and Chinese (and russian) losses, it gets to be a very much more even fight than you suggest, and possibly the numbers skew in the opposite direction! :-)


Thinking_ExUSAF February 9, 2012 at 11:09 am

In Vietnam, "turn and run" was not just a defensive tactic. For example the F-105 with its big engine and high wing loading could SCREAM at low altitude safely. If a MiG with the characteristically low wing loading tried to do the same, it was very hard for even the most skilled pilot to keep it out of the ground! Dragging a MiG into a low altitude, high speed chase was a great way to get a kill without even having to fire a single round or a single missile. Also, many of the kills (on both US and hostile A/C) were when the victim pilot forgot the advantages of his particular aircraft and tried to fight the fight offered by his opponent. Mig-15s could ALWAYS escape an F-86 by going to altitude or by maneuvering. MiG-19s could almost always outmaneuver their much larger and heavier opponent in Vietnam. Forget those points, and the victim pilot became a statistic. OBTW, you could also get "ambushed" at which time the aircraft you are flying sort of becomes immaterial!


Thinking_ExUSAF February 9, 2012 at 11:14 am

Also remember that a great many of the Japanese "ace" pilots in the Kido Butai ended up going down with their carriers at Midway, not killed in air-to-air combat. Midway was largely a victory because those pilots (and their aircraft, and the fuel and ordnance on board those aircraft) were caught on deck by the US dive bombers.


passingby February 9, 2012 at 4:21 pm

It's true that a large number of US aircraft were lost to Vietnamese AAA and SAMs. But the losses don't account for the vast disparity in total number of aircraft losses of the two sides. Almost the entire fleet of F-105s were lost in Vietnam. It's hard to imagine that the F-105 had a better than 50 to 50 chance when they got jumped by the MiG 17 or the MiG 19.


Steve B February 9, 2012 at 4:34 pm

There was a recent, well researched book – the title escapes me at the moment – that found the pilot losses for the Japanese at Midway was much much smaller than what has become conventional wisdom. Many of the aircrews were rescued by other ships and lived to fly another day. Hmm, Shattered Sword was the title, or something quite close.


blight February 9, 2012 at 4:48 pm
Thinking_ExUSAF February 9, 2012 at 8:12 pm

There has been a lot of re-thinking of the Midway events since Fuchida's somewhat self-serving book, but. . . . the facts remain. The Kido Butai was never reconstituted even though fresh carrier decks were built. They had the planes, they had the carriers, they did not have the aircrew!


Thinking_ExUSAF February 9, 2012 at 8:09 pm

Interesting that you should pick out the Thud for your discussion. Officially, the F-105 had 27.5 MiG kills, all MiG-17s by the way. This includes at least one MiG that was taken out by a salvo bomb release right in his face! It does not include any that were dragged into the ground! :-) As far as losses, there were 17 Thuds killed in A_A combat. The NVA claimed another 23 Thuds taken down in combat, but for some strange reason these reappeared on the runways in Thailand and S. Vietnam. There were over 830 F-105s produced.

Want to try your numbers again?


passingby February 9, 2012 at 9:43 pm

The numbers I read about (long time ago) were noticeably different. If I recall correctly, US sources put the total number of F-105s downed in Vietnam at well over 300; Russian/Chinese/Vietnamese numbers are even higher. I don't recall a specific number for losses to MiG's. But I remember reading accounts of how MiG 17 and MiG 19 tearing apart F-105s mid-air. My impression is that it was pretty one-sided.

Again, I don't trust official US figures.


Thinking_ExUSAF February 10, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Perhaps you trust Jane Fonda's figure(s) more! LOL!Aircraft “kills” have always been subject to a lot of counting errors. Even gun camera film can often lie. The number of aircraft produced is a matter of public record as is the number of aircraft sold off as scrap to be converted into beer cans. If you include all of the F-105s lost in training accidents far from SEA, you still end up with far more than 530 turned into beer cans.Flagrant propaganda came from BOTH sides in SEA, it takes just a little bit of introspection to realize it when you see it, particularly when even the NVA has backed all the way down from the wartime propaganda numbers. :-)A detailed listing of NVA A-A kills (including pilot name, aircraft, and weapon used) can be found at:http://www.acig.org/artman/publish/article_246.shtmlSent from my iPhone


passingby February 10, 2012 at 3:21 pm

I definitely like Jane Fonda's figure better.

US sources put the number of F-105s lost in action at around 340.

Vietnamese/Chinese sources put the number at over 400 or close to 500.

Regardless of whose figures to believe, the F-105 has the unenviable distinction of being the US aircraft with the highest loss rate in Vietnam – almost the entire fleet were lost. In fact, the entire fleet would probably have been lost had the USAF not ordered it removed from combat later in the war.


Thinking_ExUSAF February 10, 2012 at 3:56 pm

Look at the URL. Even if one chose to disbelieve the US numbers it would be hard not to accept the N Vietnamese numbers. And remember, lost aircraft include A-A and S-A, and here we were referring specifically to the A-A.If you are too politically committed to your numbers to accept the NVA's own optimistic count, I give up! CU!Sent from my iPhone


passingby February 10, 2012 at 8:56 pm

I looked at it. As I said, I don't have a precise A-A number for F-105. I don't trust US figures because of a long established, persistent pattern of fudging casualty numbers by a habitually deceitful and manipulative government. I understand that NV and Chinese figures may be overstated as well. But with the F-105, even the USAF has admitted a poor A-A exchange ratio.

In fact, heavy losses in A-A combats over Vietnam was the sole driving force behind the establishment of "Top Gun" training programs in the USAF and USN. US pilots allegedly fared better toward the end of the war.

If you were a member of the US military, you should realize by now that the US government has little credibility. Tens of thousands of US soldiers died in Vietnam over a false flag Tonkin incident. The war was a flagrant violation of international law by the US. To this day, the US government has continued the practice of perpetual warfare under false pretenses. American soldiers get killed, taxpayers get screwed, while the military industrial complex and Wall Street felons get rich.

In a few years, you will be witness to a spectacular financial/economic collapse, courtesy of the US government.


Thinking_ExUSAF February 10, 2012 at 9:47 pm

I could go into some detail as to the problems with the lovable Thud, but I sense that it would be a great waste of time for you and for me. I'd recommend the you just keep passing by! :-). Enjoy your delusions as much as I enjoy mine! Sent from my iPhone


Thinking_ExUSAF February 11, 2012 at 8:41 pm


At least for the air-to-air kills. . . . in spite of the fact that Passingby keeps avoiding the numbers.


blight February 11, 2012 at 9:25 pm

Well the problem is those sorts are western, and since we all know westerners are deceitful…le sigh.


Thinking_ExUSAF February 11, 2012 at 10:47 pm

Le sigh…. Is it perhaps just a bit strange that westerners should know the name of the north Vietnamese pilots, the planes that the flew, the weapon used for the kill, and did not know the names of the US pilots that were able to escape! Yes, I would say, “Le sigh!”. :-)Sent from my iPhone


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