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Harbin Y-12

Twin-Engine Turboprop Utility Aircraft

Harbin Y-12

Twin-Engine Turboprop Utility Aircraft


The Harbin Y-12 serves as a turboprop utility platform for a plethora of global operators including China and its PLAAF.
National Flag Graphic
YEAR: 1985
STATUS: Active, In-Service
MANUFACTURER(S): Harbin Aircraft Industry Group - China
OPERATORS: Bangladesh; Cambodia; China; Colombia; Costa Rica; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Djibouti; Eritrea; Ghana; Guyana; Indonesia; Iran; Kenya; Kiribati; Malaysia; Mali; Mauritania; Micronesia; Mongolia; Myanmar; Namibia; Nepal; Pakistan; Paraguay; Peru; Republic of the Congo; Seychelles; Sri Lanka; Tanzania; Tonga; Uganda; Zambia

Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Harbin Y-12 model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.
LENGTH: 61.84 feet (18.85 meters)
WIDTH: 56.59 feet (17.25 meters)
HEIGHT: 18.64 feet (5.68 meters)
WEIGHT (EMPTY): 6,283 pounds (2,850 kilograms)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 11,684 pounds (5,300 kilograms)
ENGINE: 2 x Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-27 turboprop engines developing 620 horsepower each and driving four-bladed propeller units.
SPEED (MAX): 205 miles-per-hour (330 kilometers-per-hour; 178 knots)
RANGE: 839 miles (1,350 kilometers; 729 nautical miles)
CEILING: 22,966 feet (7,000 meters; 4.35 miles)
RATE-OF-CLIMB: 1,600 feet-per-minute (488 meters-per-minute)


Series Model Variants
• Y-12 - Base Series Designation
• Y-12 (I) - Initial form; fitted with PWC PT6A-11 turboprop engines of 500 horsepower each; serving as prototype and about 30 pre-series/early-series aircraft.
• Y-12 (II) - Improved model with uprated PT6A-27 engines offering enhanced performance and capabilities.
• Y-12 (III) - Power from WJ-9 turboprop
• Y-12 (IV) / Y-12C - Improved III-model with increased wingspan and modified wingtips; 19-seat passenger capacity; WJ-9 turboprops used in Y-12C.
• Y-12D - Chinese Army variant used in parachute training; four-bladed propellers.
• Y-12E - Powered by PT6A-135A engines; four-bladed propellers.
• Y-12F - Extensively modified variant with retractable undercarriage, more powerful engines, larger dimensions, and all-new wings.
• Y-12G - Cargo-minded variant of the Y-12F
• "Turbo Panda" - Now-abandoned English/Japanese venture; based in the Y-12 (II).
• Twin Panda" - Abadoned initiative based in the Y-12 (II).


Detailing the development and operational history of the Harbin Y-12 Twin-Engine Turboprop Utility Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 11/7/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©
The Y-12 is a modern, high-winged twin-turboprop-powered utility aircraft designed, developed, and manufactured by the local concern of Harbin Aircraft Industry Group of China. First flown on July 14th, 1982, the aircraft has been in constant production since service entry occurred in 1985. The type serves a myriad of operators on several continents, these customers ranging from Cambodia and Djibouti to Uganda and Zambia (though its primary user remains China). Its versatile design is such that the aircraft can serve at the military, government, and civilian levels.

The high-wing arrangement provides for excellent lift and drag properties, giving the Y-12 equally-excellent short-field / rough-field capabilities. The mainplanes are braced by thick struts emanating from the lower sides of the fuselage. The cockpit carries its crew of two in a side-by-side seating arrangement with good views had over the short nosecone. The fuselage is slab-sided to better serve internal volume and the empennage raises as it tapers to the rear. Rectangular windows run along the sides of the fuselage. The tail unit is completed by a single, clipped vertical fin and low-set horizontal planes. The undercarriage of the Y-12, of three-wheeled design, is fixed for simplicity and ruggedness.

Origins of the Y-12 are based in the earlier Y-11, an aircraft also developed by Harbin, and this product was another twin-engined, high-winged performer of similar form and function (though only about 50 were produced). The goal of the new program was to expound upon the stronger qualities of the earlier Y-11 so improvements were instituted throughout the design. Dimensions increased and all-new mainplane members were forged as the project moved along during the early 1980s. A single prototype was used to prove the Y-12 design sound.

Once approved, the Y-12 entered production with thirty early-form aircraft designated as "Y-12 (I)". These carried a pair of American-Canadian Pratt & Whitney Canada (PWC) PT6A-11 turboprops of 500 horsepower each. More improvements followed (including the introduction of uprated PWC PT6A-27 engines), once in service, to produce the "Y-12 (II)" designation. The series was then officially certified for Chinese airspace in 1985.

The "Y-12 (III)" was in the works with the indigenous WJ-9 turboprop to power it and this mark eventually became the Y-12C in service. The 19-seat "Y-12 (IV)", certified around 1995, became an improved model with increased wingspan and modified wingtips.

The Y-12D serves the Chinese Army in the parachute training role and sports four-bladed propeller units. The Y-12E, certified around 2006, has seating for 18 and is driven by 2 x PWC PT6A-135A engines with four-bladed propellers.

The Y-12F is a heavily-modified variant featuring all-new wing mainplanes, larger fuselage, more powerful engines (PWC PT6A-65B), and a wholly-retractable wheeled undercarriage. Performance of this model is improved over earlier marks. A first-flight of this aircraft was recorded in December of 2010 and the type was certified before the end of 2015. The Y-12G is its proposed cargo-minded variant.


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
Hi: 300mph
Lo: 150mph
This entry's maximum listed speed (205mph).

Graph average of 225 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
Graph showcases the Harbin Y-12's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
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 (400)
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

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

Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Supported Roles
Ground Attack
Aerial Tanker
A2A=Air-to-Air; UAV=Unmanned; CAS=Close Support; ASW=Anti-Submarine; AEW=Airborne Early Warning; MEDEVAC=Medical Evac; EW=Electronic Warfare; SAR=Search-Rescue
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 pioneering aircraft
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 representing modern aircraft
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 War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.

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