|A Chinese naval Z-9 departs HMS Cornwall|
|Role||Medium multi-purpose utility helicopter|
|Manufacturer||Harbin Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation|
|Status||Operational In production|
|Developed from||Aérospatiale Dauphin|
The Harbin Z-9 (NATO reporting name "Haitun", Chinese: 海豚 for Dolphin) is a Chinese military utility helicopter. It is a licensed clone of the French Eurocopter AS365 Dauphin, and is manufactured by Harbin Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation.
Design and development
The first Z-9 flew in 1981, and was built in China from components salvaged from an unidentified Soviet helicopter which crashed over a mountain range in Harbin, with assistance from Aérospatiale as part of a production patent secured on 15 October 1980. On 16 January 1992, the indigenous variant Z-9B, constructed with 70% Chinese-made parts, flew successfully. The flight test was completed in November 1992 and the design was finalized a month later. Z-9B production began in 1993 and entered PLA service in 1994.
The Z-9B features 11-blade Fenestron faired-in tail rotor with wider-chord, all-composite blades replacing the 13-blade in AS 365N. As a light tactical troop transport, the Z-9 has the capacity to transport 10 fully armed soldiers. Generally the Z-9 is identical to the AS 365N Dauphin, though later variants of the Z-9 incorporate more composite materials to increase structural strength and lower radar signature. The helicopter has a four-blade main rotor, with two turboshaft engines mounted side by side on top of the cabin with engine layout identical to the AS 365N. The Z-9 teardrop-shaped body features a tapered boom to the tail fin, with rounded nose and stepped-up cockpit, and retractable gear and all flat bottom.
In 2002, Harbin obtained Chinese certification for the new H410A variant of the Z-9, which featured more powerful Turbomeca Arriel 2C turboshaft engines; Eurocopter issued official objections to Harbin's decision to continue production in spite of the license-production agreement having expired, leading to a period of highly sensitive international negotiations to resolve the dispute.
An armed variant has been fielded by the PLA since the early 1990s as the WZ-9 or Z-9W, with pylons fitted for anti-tank missiles. These helicopters lack the maneuverability and survivability of a proper attack helicopter, and merely provide a stopgap during the development of the WZ-10. The latest armed version, the Z-9W, was introduced in 2005 and has night attack capabilities, with an under-nose low-light TV and infra-red observing and tracking unit.
The naval version introduced in the 1990s is known as the Z-9C. As well as SAR and ASW duties, the Z-9C can be fitted with an X-band KLC-1 surface search radar to detect surface targets beyond the range of shipborne radar systems.
- Chinese license produce of the French AS.365N1.
- Chinese kit-built version of the AS.365N2.
- Prototypes for domestic market versions with WZ8A engines. First flight 16 January 1992, approved 30 December 1992.
- Initial version based on Z-9A-100. Multi-role.
- Chinese license produce of the Eurocopter AS.565 Panther given to the PLA Naval Air Force.
- ASW variant produced for the Pakistan Naval Air Arm. Configured with pulse-compression radar, low frequency dipping sonar, radar warning receiver and doppler navigation system, it is also armed with torpedoes for use aboard Pakistan Navy's F-22P Zulfiquar class frigates.
- Z-9W (WZ-9)
- Armed version with optional pylon-mounted armament and gyro stabilized, roof-mounted optical sight. Export designation Z-9G, roof-mounted sight optional. First flown in 1987, with the first weapons tests in 1989.
- A newer night-capable versions have been built with nose-mounted FLIR. July 2011, Xinhua News Agency released a photo of Z-9WA firing ADK10 air-to-ground missile. Incorporates a domestic Chinese helmet mounted sight that is compatible with anti-tank missiles such as HJ-8/9/10, as well as light anti-ship missiles such as C-701/703 and TL-1/10 when they are used as air-to-surface missiles, air-to-air missiles such as TY-90 and other MANPAD missiles for self-defense.
- Version with 635 kW WZ8C turbo-shaft engines. First flight September 2001, CAAC certification 10 July 2002. One is currently being fitted with a new Mast-Mounted Sighting (MMS) system.
- Newest VIP version of the H410A.
- Projected development.
- Stealthy attack helicopter development with tandem seats. AVIC Group's WZ-19 shares the same power plant as WZ-9WA. Media reports said the WZ-19 attack helicopter in May 2010 completed its first flight. Photos had emerged in Chinese internet forums early 2011.
Data from 
- Crew: 1
- Capacity: 9 passengers or 1,900 kg (4,189 lb) payload internal, 1,600 kg (3,527 lb) payload slung
- Length: 11.44 m (37 ft 6 in)
- Height: 4.01 m (13 ft 2 in)
- Empty weight: 2,050 kg (4,519 lb)
- Max takeoff weight: 4,100 kg (9,039 lb)
- Powerplant: 2 × Zhuzhou Aeroengine Factory WZ-8A turboshaft, 632 kW (848 hp) each
- Main rotor diameter: 11.93 m (39 ft 2 in)
- Main rotor area: 111.79 m2 (1,203.3 sq ft) swept area
- Maximum speed: 305 km/h (190 mph; 165 kn)
- Cruising speed: 260 km/h (162 mph; 140 kn)
- Ferry range: 1,000 km (621 mi; 540 nmi) with internal auxiliary tank
- Endurance: 5 hours
- Service ceiling: 4,500 m (14,764 ft) * Hovering Ceiling in ground effect: 2,600 m (8,530 ft)
- Hovering Ceiling out of ground effect: 1,600 m (5,249 ft)
On July 14, 2014, Cambodian Air Force's Z-9 crashed into a flooded quarry in the southwest of Phnom Penh, during a military training. This accident caused 4 deaths and 1 serious injury. Investigation has begun as the helicopter has been taken out of water. Officials claimed that there was no technical fault before its take off.
- Related development
- Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
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- Z-9 HMS
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