Ultra-fast Chinese copters

BEIJING - China is developing helicopters with the ability to fly at speeds twice the current average, said the country's major aircraft maker.

Mr Lin Zuoming, chairman of Aviation Industry Corp of China (AVIC), said the company is developing new-generation helicopters that can travel up to 500kmh.

Models of several new-concept helicopters were presented at the Second China Helicopter Expo in Tianjin that ended on Sunday.

The Blue Whale tilt-rotor aircraft being developed by AVIC will have a maximum take-off weight of 60 tonnes and a payload of up to 30 tonnes.

The chopper will be able to perform vertical take-offs and landings.

It can serve a wide range of military purposes, such as battlefield reconnaissance, patrols and air-to-ground strikes.

The Jueying-8, an unmanned, high-speed helicopter with co-axial rotors, was also featured at the expo. The aircraft was designed to test the feasibility of ultra-fast helicopters. Designers hope it will achieve a maximum speed of 400kmh.