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AVICopter AC312

Intermediate Helicopter

The AVICopter AC312, born from the French AS352 Dauphin by way of the Chinese Z-9 series, is set to compete in the intermediate helicopter market.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 10/22/2019
Along with Pakistan, China is a primary user of the locally produced Harbin "Z-9" medium-lift multipurpose utility-minded military helicopter. The Z-9 is based on the French Airbus Helicopters (Eurocopter) AS365 "Dauphin" and produced, under license, by Harbin under the revised designation. Sensing the market potential for a civilian-minded version of its Z-9, AVICopter revealed the AC312 in 2015 and a first-flight was reported occurring on August 18, 2016. The helicopter is slated for service in the general transport, Search And Rescue (SAR) and medical transport industries.

Outwardly, the AC312 retains much of the form and function of the Z-9 and AC365 before it. A short nosecone sits ahead of the two-seat cockpit and a passenger cabin is fitted at midships. The engine compartment is set over the cabin and drives a four-bladed composite main rotor blade. The tail stem tapers to a Fenestron tail rotor unit (the rotor is shrouded on all sides for noise reduction and embedded into the tail fin). Vertical planes are seated on outcroppings along the tail stem, towards the aft section of the helicopter. The undercarriage is fully retractable and made up of two single-wheeled main legs and a double-wheeled nose leg.

Internally, the AC312 carries 2 x Safran "Arriel 2E" series turboshaft engines developing an estimated 1,000 horsepower each. Performance specs include a maximum speed of nearly 200 miles per hour, a range out to 515 miles and a service ceiling nearing 20,000 feet. The avionics fit is provided by American supplier Rockwell Collins. Dimensions constitute a length of 12 meters with a width (rotor diameter included) of 12 meters and a height of 4 meters.

The AC312 could enter operational service as soon as 2017.

Program Updates

October 2019 - The AC312E production model is nearing certification according to an October 22nd, 2019 news release.


Active, In-Service
[ 10 Units ] :
AVICopter (AVIC) - China
National flag of China China
- Transport
- Commercial Market
- VIP Transport
- Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC)
- Search and Rescue (SAR)
39.37 ft (12 m)
39.37 ft (12 m)
13.12 ft (4 m)
(Showcased structural dimension values pertain to the AVICopter AC312 production model)
Empty Weight:
5,291 lb (2,400 kg)
9,921 lb (4,500 kg)
(Diff: +4,630lb)
(Showcased weight values pertain to the AVICopter AC312 production model)
2 x Safran Arriel 2E turboshaft engines developing 1,000 horsepower (estimated) and driving four-bladed main rotor and Fenestron-shrouded tail rotor.
(Showcased powerplant information pertains to the AVICopter AC312 production model)
Maximum Speed:
190 mph (305 kph; 165 kts)
Service Ceiling:
19,685 feet (6,000 m; 3.73 miles)
Maximum Range:
516 miles (830 km; 448 nm)
1,850 ft/min (564 m/min)
(Showcased performance values pertain to the AVICopter AC312 production model; Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database)
(Showcased armament details pertain to the AVICopter AC312 production model)
AC312 - Base Series Designation
AC312E - Model of 2019.

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