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Harbin Z-9

Harbin Z-9
A Chinese naval Z-9 departs HMS Cornwall
Role Medium multi-purpose utility helicopter
Manufacturer Harbin Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation
First flight 1981
Introduction 1994
Status Operational In production
Primary users China
Produced 1981-present
Number built 200
Developed from Aérospatiale Dauphin
Variants Harbin Z-19

The Harbin Z-9 (NATO reporting name "Haitun", Chinese: 海豚 for Dolphin[1]) is a Chinese military utility helicopter. It is a licensed variant of the French Eurocopter AS365 Dauphin, and is manufactured by Harbin Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation.


  • Design and development 1
  • Variants 2
  • Operators 3
  • Specifications (Z-9B) 4
  • Accident 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

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.[2] 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.[3]

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.[4]


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.[5]

Harbin Z-9W (WZ-9)
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.[6]
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.[7]
A newer night-capable version has been built with nose-mounted FLIR. July 2011, Xinhua News Agency released a photo of Z-9WA firing ADK10 air-to-ground missile.[8] 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.[9]
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. The WZ-19 shares the same power plant as the WZ-9WA.


A Malian Air Force Z-9B coming in to land

Specifications (Z-9B)

Data from [18]

General characteristics
  • 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)

2 fixed 23 mm cannon on attack variants. Pylons for rockets, gun pods, ET52 torpedo, HJ-8 anti-tank missiles, or TY-90 air-to-air missiles.


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.[19]

See also

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era


  1. ^ Parsch, Andreas; Aleksey V. Martynov (2008). "Designations of Soviet and Russian Military Aircraft and Missiles". Retrieved 2010-04-13. 
  2. ^ "哈尔滨飞机工业集团有限责任公司". Retrieved 2013-11-16. 
  3. ^ "Z-9 Utility Helicopter". 2007-01-06. 
  4. ^ "China Approves Re-engine Z-9 Twin." Flight International, July 2002. p. 43.
  5. ^ "Z-9C (AS 565 Panther) Naval Helicopter". 2007-07-28. Retrieved 2008-03-26. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Harbin Z-9W Attack Helicopter". Army Technology. 2011-06-15. Retrieved 2013-11-16. 
  8. ^ "Z-9WA attack helicopter". Retrieved 12 July 2011. 
  9. ^ Z-9 HMS
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h "World Air Forces 2013". Flightglobal Insight. 2013. Retrieved 19 February 2013. 
  11. ^ "Helicopters to ‘protect’ government". Retrieved 29 November 2013. 
  12. ^ "Minister For Defence At The "Meet The Press" Series At The Ministry Of Information Conference". Retrieved 17 February 2013. 
  13. ^ "Kenya Army Z-9". Demand media. Retrieved 17 February 2013. 
  14. ^ "Laos Z-9". Demand media. Retrieved 17 February 2013. 
  15. ^ "Handing over and Commissioning Ceremony of H425 Z9 Helicopters". Retrieved 15 October 2013. 
  16. ^ "China Making Its Mark In South America". Retrieved 17 February 2013. 
  17. ^ "Zambia; AF acquires Z-9 Helicopters". Retrieved 17 February 2013. 
  18. ^ Gordon, Yefim; Dmitry Komissarov (2008). Chinese aircraft. Manchester: Hikoki.  
  19. ^ Cheang, Sopheng (14 July 2014). "Copter Crash Kills 2 Cambodian Military Generals".  

External links

  • Z-9 Helicopter Family
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