A U.S. Apache attack helicopter appears in China. Did they clone it?

Images have surfaced on the Chinese Internet of what seems to be an actual AH-64D Apache or a real-size copy of the world’s most famous attack chopper.

The helicopter, on a truck, seems to be in the process of being moved even if it is at least strange that it is not hidden below a protective covering, as happened for other mysterious choppers spotted on the move in China.

It’s not easy to guess how Beijing put their hands on the helicopter. It could be one of the U.S. Army Apaches downed or crash landed in Iraq, that was later fixed and exported in China.

A famous episode is the one of the AH-64 shot down intact during the 2003 attack on Karbala, during which the two US pilots were captured and shown on television along with the helicopter: still, Pentagon later stated the Apache had been destroyed with an airstrike the day following the capture.

Or, it may be a perfect copy of the Boeing AH-64: China has already shown its ability to create clones of the American most advanced weapons systems.

Image via Chinadefense blog. H/T to Ugo Crisponi for the heads-up

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About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. I am a Chinese.I don’t have any words to say about you western guy…..Really don’t know nothing about China.hahahahah…LOL.
    You don’t know there are things called model,props…….I can show you hundreds of thousand of those..
    Crazy you people.

  2. It is Apache, real one, but it still has Legacy sighting system, so it probably is one that US sold to other countries. Wings been removed, all external antenna and sensor has been removed, gun removed. So it pretty much just the basic structure. But it also could one of allied aircraft crahed in Iraq or Afghanistan.

  3. Who cares? American Apaches spend most of their time in the hangars undergoing maintenance. The only thing less reliable than a Boeing Apache would be a Chinese knock-off.

      • Thousands is a gross overstatement. The AH-6, MH-60, UH-1, and AH-1 have all likely matched any body count accumulated by the AH-64 Hangar Queen. I’ve spent over 2 years deployed with Apaches as a Senior Army Aviator. What are your credentials?

  4. China’s cyber-espionage might have contributed to this and other military cloning projects.

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