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AC3X2 / Z-YY - Engine
Advanced Heavy Lift AHL 40-ton Helicopter

At present, the first problem faced by Sino-Russian heavy-duty helicopters is the engine. China lacks experience in technologies related to the transmission system. It is important to know that an engine determines whether a helicopter performs well or not. There are currently two engines available for this helicopter, one is the PD-21V engine developed by the Russian side; the other is an improved version of the Ukrainian D-136 engine.

The Mi-26 uses the D-136 engine. It should be said that both engines have their own advantages and disadvantages. For example, the newly developed PD-21V engine of Russia is naturally more advanced and has better indicators, but it is still In the intense research and development, there is still a period of time from the actual use, and the price is higher, the price/performance ratio and the maturity are not as good as the Ukrainian D-136 engine.

The improved model introduced by Ukraine on the basis of the D-136 engine is relatively mature in performance, has been continuously improved and improved, and the price is also cheaper. The only problem is that the relationship between Ukraine and Russia is deteriorating, which may affect the Sino-Russian heavy helicopter. Chins could solve this problem through the purchase of Motor-Sich, the Ukrainian manufacturer of the engine, but the United States has blocked this purchase.

Ukrainian company Motor Sich will not participate in the creation of a Russian-Chinese helicopter, Yuri Tereschenko, head of Ukraine’s State Export Control, said 21 May 2015. Motor Sich is one of the leading post-Soviet producers of gas-turbine engines. It is the largest supplier of turboshaft engines for the Russian helicopter-manufacturing industry. Thus, Tereschenko refuted the claims by Alexander Mikheev, director of Russian Helicopters Corporation, who earlier on said that Motor Sich would be engaged in the project and the contract is planned to be signed in late-2015. Mikheev assessed the market for the new helicopter at 200 units.

Motor Sich was forced to sever ties with Russia, its biggest client, due to sanctions imposed by Kiev on Moscow to punish it for its 2014 annexation of Crimea and its support for pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. The output of Motor Sich, which makes engines for both civil and defence planes and helicopters, fell 40 percent after it lost access to the Russian market.

The Chinese firm Beijing Skyrizon Aviation Industry Investment signed a deal in 2016 to acquire a stake in Motor Sich, although the deal was blocked by Ukrainian security services, which opened an investigation into suspected sabotage. A series of legal hearings were held, but the court ruled that the shares could be sold and a deal was pending approval by Ukraine's national anti-monopoly committee.

At the 2019 Moscow Air Show, the heavy helicopter project jointly developed by China and Russia announced that the final contract had been signed. According to public reports, the two countries have decided to jointly develop a 40-ton heavy-duty helicopter with a carrying capacity of more than 15 tons. Among them, Russia will be responsible for providing the helicopter’s engines and traditional systems, while China will provide the main funds and be responsible for electronic systems, R&D and production of carbon fiber materials and other important components. According to the plan, this new heavy straight project will eventually be produced in China. It is reported that our need for this aircraft will exceed 200 at least.

For China, the new heavy straight can use the D-136 modified engine produced in Ukraine, which is currently the power system of the Russian Mi-26 helicopter. Previously, it has maintained long-term cooperation with Ukraine in the field. Purchasing the D136 engine can not only reduce the cost and increase the success rate of the project, but also increase the possibility of mastering the core technology of this engine in the future.

From the perspective of Russia, a series of problems may arise with the use of Ukrainian engines, especially because Russia has had a bad relationship with Ukraine in recent years, and Ukraine has stopped all military cooperation with Russia. Russia is more inclined to equip the new heavy straight with the newly developed Russian D-12V engine. This engine has more powerful performance indicators than D135, but the biggest problem is that the research and development of this engine has not been completed and its reliability is lacking. verify.

The signing of the final agreement between the two countries shows that the two sides have reached an agreement on the engine issue, which is of great significance for the start of the research and development of the re-direction project as soon as possible. At present, China has been able to build 10-ton general-purpose helicopters and 6-ton light helicopters. After the heavy-duty project is mature, it will have a relatively complete helicopter R&D and production system. Military experts said that the heavy straight with a load capacity of 15 tons can play an important role for the military. The navy’s aircraft carriers and amphibious ships are the stage for the heavy straight, and in the army, the heavy straight can also hang armored vehicles and light artillery to realize maneuverability. Deployment, and carrying a large number of special forces for airborne operations behind enemy lines is also of great deterrent significance.

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