February 12, 2010:
Despite a Western arms embargo (because of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre), China is increasingly installing 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. This engine is only supposed to be used for Chinese civilian helicopters. Earlier models of the Z-9 use Chinese designed and built WZ8A engines. This use of Western engines in military helicopters is not new. Three 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.)