China develops attack copter, denies piracy

Beijing: China today confirmed it had developed its first modern military attack helicopter, but denied reports that the chopper was a replica of stolen US Black Hawk technology. A Chinese defence ministry spokesperson claimed that the attack helicopter Z-10 was manufactured on indigenous know-how, including its engines.

The website sought to refute allegations that Beijing had used stolen US technology to develop the attack helicopter which may have advanced stealth features. The Chinese announcement comes weeks after a major US defence contractor, United Technologies, told a US court that it may have violated an embargo on export of controlled technology to China. The company agreed to the pay a USD 75 million fine in connection with the export violation.

Defence Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun, in response to allegations made by US prosecutors, said the helicopter`s manufacturer had used independent intellectual property rights. "China`s attack helicopters and their engines are all self-developed, and have proprietary intellectual property rights," said Yang, adding that the so-called piracy "is far from truth."

Yang said the development of China`s military equipment has always followed the principle of independent innovation, and relied on its own capability in research and production, according to a report in Xinhua news agency. According to US prosecutors, the American company had entered the Chinese aviation software market, knowing that its export of modified software would allow China to test and develop its new military helicopter, called the Z-10.

The Chinese announcement comes in the backdrop of increasing accusations by the United States that Beijing was spying and hacking into programmes of American defence contractors. A report to the US Congress in March said that China`s military had made significant advances in its cyber warfare capabilities that could be used against the US.