The Chinese Military Has Black Hawks Thanks To Capitalism

Military Tech

The Soviet Union and China were good pals at the start of the Cold War, but then they had a falling-out over some commie stuff. Like most arguments over what Marx actually meant, this one spiraled into low-key violence between the Chinese military and the USSR's border patrol. And like any good capitalist, the United States decided to monetize the discord. The best way to divide your enemies is to offer them your sweet military tech, at low, low prices.


From 1979 to 1989, the United States sold numerous weapons systems to China, most notably the S-70 (UH-60) helicopter, which in its various incarnations is best known as the Black Hawk. 24 of these iconic staples of American soldiering were exported to the People's Republic of China for a cool $140 million. After the U.S. stopped selling arms to China over the communist nation’s slaughter of unarmed student protestors, Sikorsky ceased technical support for the exported helos.

A Chinese Black Hawk flies past a garrison of PLA troops.Danaan67 Chu

In the 1980s, China was becoming embroiled in border conflicts all along its mountainous south. The need for a high altitude helicopter was apparent to the People’s Liberation Army, and the Mi-8 Hip just wasn’t getting the job done. The Black Hawks were quickly plugged into roles transporting troops, supplies and VIPs across mountainous regions in Tibet and near India.

By the late ‘90s, 21 of the 24 original helicopters were still in use by China (three had been lost in crashes), and as late as 2015, they were used during the relief efforts after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Sichuan Province. But the Black Hawks were nearing the end of their service life, and China needed a replacement.

Enter the Harbin Z-20 medium lift helicopter. Given China’s history of reverse engineering, it seems like a small stretch to think that they based the design on the Black Hawks they have been using for 30 years. The new whirlybird has trickled into service with the various PLA branches, and it does bear a resemblance to the Black Hawk.

It’s possible that the quick buck that the U.S. made back in 1983 could bite it in the ass one day. Too bad Sikorsky can’t hear you over the sweet new sound system in their Ferrari that the Chinese military paid for.

A Chinese Black Hawk flies in ChinaChinese State Media

A enlisted thinktank brought to you by Task & Purpose

An Army staff sergeant who "represents the very best of the 101st Airborne Division" has finally received a Silver Star for his heroic actions during the Battle of the Bulge after a 75-year delay.

On Sunday, Staff Sgt. Edmund "Eddie" Sternot was posthumously awarded with a Silver Star for his heroics while leading a machine gun team in the Ardennes Forest. The award, along with Sternot's Bronze Star and Purple Heart, was presented to his only living relative, Sternot's first cousin, 80-year-old Delores Sternot.

Read More Show Less

Army officers who are on the short list to become a battalion commander will now undergo a psychological exam.

Read More Show Less

U.S. special operations forces are currently field testing a lightweight combat armor designed to cover more of an operator's body than previous protective gear, an official told Task & Purpose.

The armor, called the Lightweight Polyethylene (PE) Armor for Extremity Protection, is one of a handful of subsystems to come out of U.S. Special Operations Command's Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) effort that media outlets dubbed the "Iron Man suit," Navy Lieutenant Cmdr. Tim Hawkins, a SOCOM spokesman, told Task & Purpose on Wednesday.

Read More Show Less
Petty Officer Derek Buitrago and his wife, Sandra, say they found black mold along their Corvias home's baseboards (Courtesy of Covington & Burling)

Ten military families are taking their privatized housing provider, Corvias, to court over "appalling housing conditions and cavalier treatment" at Fort Meade in Maryland, according to a new lawsuit.

The lawsuit filed on Tuesday by law firm Covington & Burling —which is handling the lawsuit pro bono, according to their press release — details "distressingly similar stories of poorly maintained infrastructure leading to serious problems, such as mold growing on walls, windows, and pipes," at the the installation.

The lawsuit was first reported by the Washington Post. The defendants identified include Corvias Management-Army LLC and Meade Communities, LLC, which is a part of Corvias.

Read More Show Less

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senior Democratic and Republican lawmakers presented dueling narratives on Wednesday as a U.S. congressional impeachment inquiry that threatens Donald Trump's tumultuous presidency entered a crucial new phase with the first televised public hearing.

The drama unfolded in a hearing of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee in which two career U.S. diplomats - William Taylor and George Kent - voiced alarm over the Republican president and those around him pressuring Ukraine to conduct investigations that would benefit Trump politically.

Read More Show Less