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AVICopter AC332 (Advanced Heavy Lifter - AHL)

Heavy-Lift / High-Altitude Transport Helicopter

China | 2023

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

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 10/22/2019 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
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.

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October 2019 - The AC332 AHL helicopter is nearing launch approval according to industry reports.

Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the AVICopter AC332 (Advanced Heavy Lifter - AHL) Heavy-Lift / High-Altitude Transport Helicopter.
POSSIBLE: 2 x AVIC WZ-20 turboshaft engines developing 8,000 horsepower each and driving seven-bladed main rotor with five-bladed tail rotor.
186 mph
300 kph | 162 kts
Max Speed
18,701 ft
5,700 m | 4 miles
Service Ceiling
391 miles
630 km | 340 nm
Operational Range
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the AVICopter AC332 (Advanced Heavy Lifter - AHL) Heavy-Lift / High-Altitude Transport Helicopter.
118.1 ft
36.00 m
O/A Length
91.9 ft
(28.00 m)
O/A Width
26.7 ft
(8.15 m)
O/A Height
88,185 lb
(40,000 kg)
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected below are altitude, speed, and range. The more full the box, the more balanced the design.
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the AVICopter AC332 (Advanced Heavy Lifter - AHL) Heavy-Lift / High-Altitude Transport Helicopter .
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.
Notable series variants as part of the AVICopter AC332 (Advanced Heavy Lifter - AHL) family line.
Advanced Heavy Lifter (AHL) - Project Name
AC332 - Proposed Designation for production form.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the AVICopter AC332 (Advanced Heavy Lifter - AHL). Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 0 Units

Contractor(s): AVICopter - China / Russian Helicopters; Mil - Russia
National flag of China National flag of Russia

[ China (probable); Russia (possible) ]
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Image of the AVICopter AC332 (Advanced Heavy Lifter - AHL)
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Going Further...
The AVICopter AC332 (Advanced Heavy Lifter - AHL) Heavy-Lift / High-Altitude Transport Helicopter appears in the following collections:
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