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AVICopter AC332 (Advanced Heavy Lifter - AHL)

China (2023)
Picture of AVICopter AC332 (Advanced Heavy Lifter - AHL) Heavy-Lift / High-Altitude Transport Helicopter

The proposed joint Chinese-Russian AHL would become one of the largest operating helicopters anywhere in the world if the product sees completion.


Detailing the development and operational history of the AVICopter AC332 (Advanced Heavy Lifter - AHL) Heavy-Lift / High-Altitude Transport Helicopter.  Entry last updated on 5/15/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

The Chinese and Russians have entered into a joint design partnership to produce an all-new very-high-altitude, heavy-lift helicopter. The requested maximum speed is set at 186 miles per hour with a range out to 390 miles. More importantly, engineers have been given the challenge of designing the aircraft with a service ceiling up to 18,696 feet (5,700 meters) capable of reaching the highest points of the rugged Chinese countryside. Gross weight is estimated at 84,200 pounds with possible seating for some sixty passengers. At present, this rotorcraft would be dimensionally smaller than the mammoth Russian Mil Mi-26 "Halo" heavy hauler but larger (and twice as heavy) as the American Boeing CH-47F "Chinook" tandem rotor system of the U.S. military. The Mi-26 is currently the largest helicopter in service anywhere in the world with operators in Russia, India and the Ukraine (among others).

AviCopter of China is heading the Chinese side of the development with the project name being "Advanced Heavy Lifter" (HAL) and its in-service designation becoming "AC332" (formally the "AC3X2"). An early design effort was showcased in September 2015 during the China Helicopter Exposition in Tianjin. The AHL effort is being largely funded by China.

A typical medium-lift helicopter can hover between 10,500 and 14,000 feet maximum before the engine's ability to breath the thinner air restricts further climbing (forward flight reveals a maximum altitude nearer 25,000 feet). In June of 1972, a specially-modified high-altitude Aerospatiale "Lama" helicopter lightweight helicopter achieved 40,814 feet to set a new absolute altitude record. However, the engine flamed out and forced an autorotation landing by the pilot (Jean Boulet of France). With that landing the helicopter also set the world record for longest autorotation period.

China has a history of operating and building both Soviet/Russian and, more recently, French helicopters. With this knowledge, and that offered by Russian engineers, the AC332 is set to take on a most sleek, modern appearance. The main rotor blades, set low over the engine pairing, showcases seven composite blades with swept tips for reduced vibration and drag. The AHL may be outfitted with Russian-originated powerplants of AVIC of China cannot come through with an indigenous offering(the AVIC WZ-20 of 8,000 horsepower output - two would be fitted). The tail-rotor, set along the starboard side of the tail fin, holds a five-bladed rotor system. Despite a separate design phase, the two countries are set to combine this early work to generate the final product.

The Russian design being offered appears as an offshoot of its Mil Mi-26 complete with a twin-engine configuration, seven-bladed main rotor and five-bladed tail rotor set to starboard along the single tail fin featured. Its form largely mimics the in-service heavy-lifter.

Both versions sport a three-point wheeled undercarriage with retractable functionality. Lift capabilities are to be consistent with heavy-lift types for service in civilian sectors (SAR, firefighting, etc...), the construction industry and (possibly) military with an under-slung capability in moving palletized supplies, artillery systems or whole armored vehicles to generally unreachable areas of the world. Additionally, light-class vehicles would fit within the primary hold of the large helicopter.

Any available statistics for the AVICopter AC332 (Advanced Heavy Lifter - AHL) Heavy-Lift / High-Altitude Transport Helicopter are showcased in the areas immediately below. Categories include basic specifications covering country-of-origin, operational status, manufacture(s) and total quantitative production. Other qualities showcased are related to structural values (namely dimensions), installed power and standard day performance figures, installed or proposed armament and mission equipment (if any), global users (from A-to-Z) and series model variants (if any).






Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 200mph
Lo: 100mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (186mph).

    Graph average of 150 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the AVICopter AC332 (Advanced Heavy Lifter - AHL)'s operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
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Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
0
0


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
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National Flag Graphic
Origin: China
Year: 2023
Type: Heavy-Lift / High-Altitude Transport Helicopter
Manufacturer(s): AVICopter - China / Russian Helicopters; Mil - Russia
Production: 0
Status: In-Development
Global Operators:
China (probable); Russia (possible)
Historical Commitments / Honors:

Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
Measurements and Weights icon
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the AVICopter AC332 (Advanced Heavy Lifter - AHL) model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
5


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
118.11 ft


Meters
36 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
91.86 ft


Meters
28 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
26.74 ft


Meters
8.15 m


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
88,185 lb


Kilograms
40,000 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
POSSIBLE: 2 x AVIC WZ-20 turboshaft engines developing 8,000 horsepower each and driving seven-bladed main rotor with five-bladed tail rotor.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
186 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
300 kph


Knots
162 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
391 mi


Kilometers
630 km


Nautical Miles
340 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
18,701 ft


Meters
5,700 m


Miles
3.54 mi

Armament - Hardpoints (0):

None. Mission capability for sixty passengers in cabin. Also light-class vehicles in hold (in lieu of passengers). Underslung loads consisting of pallets, artillery pieces and armored vehicles.
Variants: Series Model Variants
• Advanced Heavy Lifter (AHL) - Project Name
• AC332 - Proposed Designation for production form.