CHINA - China is developing helicopters with the ability to fly at speeds twice the current average, according the country's major aircraft maker.
Lin Zuoming, chairman of Aviation Industry Corp of China, said the company is developing new-generation helicopters that can travel up to 500 kilometers an hour.
"We have been keeping pace with other countries in the research and development of ultrafast helicopters," he added.
Lin was speaking after models of several new-concept helicopters were presented at the Second China Helicopter Expo, which concluded in Tianjin on Sunday. His company produces a wide range of helicopters, from ultra-light models to heavy-lift helicopters.
The Blue Whale tilt rotor aircraft being developed by AVIC's Helicopter Research and Development Institute will have a maximum takeoff weight of 60 tons and a payload of up to 30 tons, an engineer at the institute told People's Daily.
He said the Blue Whale will be able to reach speeds of up to 700 km/h.
The aircraft will be able to perform vertical takeoffs and landings in areas with complex geographical conditions and conduct disaster relief supply airdrops and other heavy-lift duties.
It also can serve a wide range of military purposes such as battlefield reconnaissance, patrols and air-to-ground strikes.