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Z-9 / H410/ H425 Helicopter ( SA365N Dauphin-2)

In 1980, France agreed to allow China to build the AS-365 Dauphin-2 in China as the Z-9 helicopter. The Chinese Navy has equipped Dauphin-2s with sensors, torpedoes, and missiles for use aboard its vessels. The Dauphin-2 is a medium-weight multirole helicopter that is powered by two turbine engines. Capable of carrying 11 passengers and 2 pilots, the Dauphin-2 has a top speed of 140 nautical miles per hour and a range of 410 nautical miles. Composite materials are used in its main and rear rotor blades, and its tail rotor is built into the vertical fin.

The Harbin Aircraft Industry Group (AVIC II) produces various versions of the Z-9, a light utility helicopter based on the Eurocopter AS 365N Dauphin 2. Between 1982 and 1990, Harbin built 50 Z-9s under a license agreement signed in 1980. Since that time, Harbin has increased the level of local content and has produced upgraded versions, including a shipborne version and a gunship version armed with air-to-air missiles.

Since the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party the Chinese helicopter development has entered into a new era with the carrying out of the open policy and years of exploration. In this era the policy in the helicopter field is to meet the needs of national economy development, to enhance the foundation and raise the technical level of the helicopter industry considerably, to actively acquire foreign advanced technology and to march towards the helicopter manufacturing techniques of the eighties.

In 1980 China decided to acquire the manufacturing techniques of the French SA365N / NI Dauphin II helicopter and its engine based on a combination of trade with technology transfer, and to manufacture the helicopter under a Chinese designation Z-9. A licence agreement was signed on July 2 between Chinese CATIC and French companies Aerospatiale and Turbomeca and it was approved by Chinese and French governments on October 10. The agreement specified that France would transfer its manufacturing rights of the Dauphin helicopter and its engine to China for assembly of 50 helicopters and 100 engines. The Chinese factory was to assemble the helicopter with parts and components first supplied by France, then partly made in China and at last, by performing the activities divided into 6 phases, totally made in China and to master the advanced helicopter manufacturing techniques.

The Dauphin is a new general purpose helicopter developed by France in the late 1970s. It has advantages of light structure, heavy payload and high performance. Eighty per cent of exposed areas are covered by composite material. The rotor system consists 4 blades made from composite material and a starflex glassfibre / carbonfibre hub. An advanced "fenestron" type of ducted fan tail rotor is used to improve its safety in low altitude flying and landing. The large vertical fin uses an unsymmetrical airfoil so that less power is consumed in high speed cruise. The power plant is two Turbomeca Arriel IC turboshaft engines.

The Z-9 production was decided to be taken place at following places: the airframe would be produced at Harbin Aircraft Factory, the engines at the Zhuzhou Aero-engine Company, the transmission system at the Harbin Engine Factory and the hubs and the tail rotor blades at Baoding Propeller Factory.

From Z-5 to Z-9 the manufacturing technique qualitatively advanced from the state of the art of the fifties to the one of the eighties. Accordingly the factories and institutes concerned, such as the Harbin Aircraft Factory, have been technically reformed. In the area of machining the high precision general purpose and special purpose machines have been added. As to the welding, equipment have been supplemented for electron beam welding, friction butt welding and metal skin welding. In the area of heat treatment the equipment for vacum heat treatment and controlled atmosphere heat treatment have been added and some new techniques such as the aluminium-chronium metallzing, shot peen,etc. have been mastered. In the area of surface treatment new production lines have been set up and the qualities of water and chemicals have been upgraded.

In the area of composite materials the modern factory buildings including the ones in which the air conditioners can be automatically controlled have been constructed. In other areas such as the measurement, inspection and test, high precision equipment have also been added and new methods used. According to the French Aerospatiale rule the critical aircraft components can be installed on to the aircraft for flight only after they have been certificated by fatigue test, therefore, several factories have set up fatigue test facilities. To test key components such as the rotor and the gear box, the dynamic balancing test rigs and functional test rigs have also been set up.

To improve the technical quality of the staff and workers involved in the helicopter production technical training has been carried out in all factories concerned. As an example the Harbin Aircraft Factory alone had run 25 training courses and has trained, more than 1,200 person-times. More than 100 persons had been to France either for training or for technical visit.

In the Z-9 trial production the technical people and workers were organized to begin with the study of technical data and to carry out their activities step by step according to the scientific procedures so that the difficulties caused by the frequent changes to the design drawings by French and the late supplies of the French components were overcome, the qualified helicopters were produced and the small scale production capability was formed. A total of 31 Z-9s had been produced by the end of 1986 and they had been delivered to the Air Force, Navy, CAAC . and the Chinese Ocean Helicopter company. They have begun to play their roles in the military Services' training, the exploitation of offshore oilfields and the general aviation services.

AC312 4-ton helicopter

The AC312 is a 4-ton twin-engine medium helicopter, with the internal space, cruising speed, and configuration with very comprehensive police equipment, to complete a variety of important tasks. It features large internal space, good cruise speed, high reliability, and can carry 12 special police. There may be some technical connection between the AC312 and Eurocopter AS30 Dauphin [surely not the much smaller AS350B, as sometime reported].

As the helicopter base in Tianjin final assembly work began in 2011 on two two helicopters. Assembly schedules were identified, in July 2011, the first parts for the AC312 were to start arriving in the Tianjin final assembly plant.


The H410A helicopter is an upgraded model of the Zhi-9 manufactured by Hafei Aviation Industry Co. Ltd. This aircraft is a customization of the basic Z-9 aircraft retaining its high speed, maneuverability and stability in the air. The H410 is equipped with 8-14 seats and is capable of all-weather missions. The HAIG H410A helicopter first flew in September 2001 and received the type certification from CAAC in June 2002. In July 2002 Hafei received orders for eight H410A helicopters, after it obtained a model certificate from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).


The Chinese independently developed helicopter H425 finished its test flights and entered into service in June 2007. The H425 is manufactured by AVIC Hafei Aviation Industry Co. Ltd (HAI), HAI is the largest helicopter manufacturer in China. Early in 1980s, HAI introduced the advanced technology in the manufacturing of the Z9 multi-purpose medium helicopter from Europe. And from the experience of cooperation with company like Eurocopter, HAI's R&D and manufacture capability has been improved and more suitable for the customers' demand and requirements.

The H425 is the newest type of Z9 series, Z9 series is the most successful series helicopter in China. By the end of 2008, more than 300 Z9 series helicopters have been delivered to both domestic and oversees customers. As the most advanced type of Z9 series, this aircraft is for the purpose of meeting the increasing demand on the civil market and further developing the international civil application market. It is designed, tested and manufactured in compliance with the requirements of CCAR part 29. AVIC INTERNATIONAL HOLDING CORPORATION (AVIC INTERNATIONAL for shorten, and former CATIC), as a main importer & exporter of China aviation industry, has started the marketing activities of H425 since 1990s.

Z-9W [WZ-9]

An attack helicopter 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. The latest armed version, the Z-9W, was introduced in 2005 and has night attack capabilities, with an under-nose low-light TV and infrared observing and tracking unit. Z-9W was China's first anti-armor attack helicopter that become operational with People's Liberation Army. It can be armed with the HJ-8A wire-guided ATGMs, or 57mm/90mm rocket pods, or 23mm cannons, or TY-90 IR-guided AAMs.

Harbin Aircraft Manufacture Corporation (HAMC) began to develop an attack variant of its Zhi-9 (Z-9) utility helicopter in the mid-1980s. The prototype was only intended for anti-armor role, carrying a roof-mounted optical sight unit and four HJ-8 anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) under the weapon pylons. This variant first flew in 1987 and the first live test fire of the missile from the helicopter took place in 1989. The formal production variant introduced in the early 1990s incorporated with a range of armaments, including 23mm cannon, 12.7mm machine gun pod, 57/90mm unguided rocket pod, and the TY-90 IR-homing short-range air-to-air missile.Several dozens of the Z-9W attack helicopters were delivered to the PLA Army Aviation Corps 8th Army Aviation Group (Regiment) subordinated to 38th Group Army in Beijing Military Region in the mid-1990s. As a result of the PLA's decision to give high priority to the Army Aviation Corps in its modernisation program, more units have received the Z-9W after 2000. The total number of these helicopter fielded by the PLA is estimated to be 30~40.

The new WZ-19 attack helicopter seems to have retained the aft fuselage and rotor system of the Z-9WA, and is likely to use the same power plant as that of Z-9WA as part of a low risk approach.

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Page last modified: 11-07-2011 02:49:07 ZULU