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Images have emerged of what appears to be an intact AH-64D Apache helicopter, one of America' s most successful and deadliest assault weapons, in China.
The AH-64D is pictured, apparently being transported on the back of a truck, without a protective covering on.
The Apache features fully integrated avionics, weapons, and communications systems, and the technology used in it is a top secret.
The images have fueled concern that China has discovered a way of cloning the military hardware. It has already successfully cloned some of America's most advanced weapons systems, The Aviatonist reports.
It is not clear when the pictures were taken, but they recently appeared on the China Defense Blog.
In 2011, it was reportedly claimed that China was able to build its first stealth bomber using technology gleaned from a downed U.S. fighter.
Beijing unveiled its state-of-the-art jet – the Chengdu J-20 – in April, 2011.
At the time, military officials said it was likely the Chinese were able to develop the stealth technology from parts of an American F-117 Nighthawk that was shot down over Serbia in 1999.
Other theories suggest that the helicopter is a full-size movie prop, or one of the U.S. Army Apaches downed or crash landed in Iraq, that was later fixed and exported in China.
The Boeing AH-64 Apache is a four-blade, twin-engine attack helicopter, first developed and flown in 1975, before being taken into service with the U.S. army in 1986.
China is not in the list of approved exporters of the technology.
One theory has placed this helicopter as the AH-64 which was shot down intact during the 2003 attack on Karbala.
Two pilots were captured and shown on television along with the helicopter, but the Pentagon later said the Apache had been destroyed during an airstrike the following day.
|The real Apache|
- Daily Mail