Designed based on the French Aerospatiale SA 321 Super Frelon, the Z-18, which was created by Changhe Aircraft Industries Corporation (CAIC), is a medium transport helicopter. It is a single-rotor helicopter powered by three improved WZ-6 turboshaft engines and has a maximum takeoff weight of 13.8 tons. CAIC produced two types of Z-18 helicopters for the PLA's naval forces. One is the Z-18J which is used to carry out early warning operations while the other, the Z-18F, is to be used for anti-submarine warfare. Global Times said the "F" is short for "Fanqian" which means anti-sumbarine in Chinese.
Last year, a photo of Z-18F operating aboard the flight deck of the Liaoning was revealed to the public for the first time. Senior Colonel Cao Weidong of the PLA Navy told the Shanghai Morning Post that China's first aircraft carrier is able to carry a total number of 10 Z-18 helicopters in the future. Among them, four will be Z-18Js and six are going to be Z-18Fs. Cao added that the Z-18F will improve the PLA Navy's anti-submarine warfare capabilities.
The photos released in August of 2014 indicated that the Z-18F had already been painted in the light blue color of the PLA Navy's carrier-based aircraft. Since only aircraft designed to serve aboard the Liaoning are painted that color, the Chinese official newspaper said that the Z-18Fs are definitely going to serve aboard the vessel.
The People's Liberation Army Navy anti-submarine warfare (ASW) Z-18F Helicopter.