The Changhe Z-18 is a locally-designed, developed, and produced multi-role / multi-mission large helicopter serving the Chinese military in several capacities. The type is an offshoot of the relatively new AVICopter AC313 transport helicopter series detailed elsewhere on this site (and therefore shares performance and structural data with it). The Z-18 was selected by the People's Liberation Army Naval Air Force (PLANAF) service to succeed its fleet of Z-8 helicopters based in the French Aerospatiale SA321 "Super Frelon". It generally takes on maritime / overwater roles though a land-based variant is also featured for the Army (as the "Z-8G").
The Z-18 currently exists in four major recognized forms: Z-18 is used to designate the base, maritime-minded form housing FLIR/TV and enhanced communications and powered by the WZ-6C turboshaft engine series. Z-18F is used to designate dedicated Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) platforms that arrive complete with surface-search radar, dipping sonar capability, sonobouy support, and provision for torpedoes, anti-ship missiles, and mine dispensers. The Z-18J is an Airborne Early Warning (AEW) model carrying a locally-designed and developed multi-mode Active, Electronically-Scanned Array (AESA) radar unit. The Z-8G is a Chinese Army variant sporting a unique nose assembly carrying terrain-following radar for Nap-of-the-Earth (NOE) flying. It is also equipped with an Electro-Optical (EO) sensor system in a small powered turret.
Currently, the Z-18 series serves aboard the modest Chinese Navy aircraft carrier fleet while the Army version entered service in or around January 2018.
Beyond its patrol and attack roles, the Z-18 can also fulfill Search & Rescue (SAR), VIP passenger transport, and MEDEVAC roles as needed.
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
✓Special-Mission: Airborne Early Warning (AEW)
Specially-equipped platform providing over-battlefield Command and Control (C2) capability for allied aerial elements.
✓Special-Mission: Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW)
Equipped to search, track, and engage enemy underwater elements by way of specialized onboard equipment and weapons.
Equipped to search, track, and engage enemy surface elements through visual acquisition, radar support, and onboard weaponry.
✓Special-Mission: Electronic Warfare (EW)
Equipped to actively deny adversaries the ElectroMagnetic (EM) spectrum and protect said spectrum for allied forces.
✓Special-Mission: MEDical EVACuation (MEDEVAC)
Extraction of wounded combat or civilian elements by way of specialized onboard equipment and available internal volume or external carrying capability.
✓Special-Mission: Search & Rescue (SAR)
Ability to locate and extract personnel from areas of potential harm or peril (i.e. downed airmen in the sea).
General transport functionality to move supplies/cargo or personnel (including wounded and VIP) over range.
Used in the Very-Important-Person (VIP) passenger transport role, typically with above-average amenities and luxuries as standard.
75.6 ft (23.05 m)
62.2 ft (18.95 m)
21.8 ft (6.65 m)
15,432 lb (7,000 kg)
29,762 lb (13,500 kg)
+14,330 lb (+6,500 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base CAIC Z-18 production variant)
3 x WZ-6C turboshaft engines developing 1,570 horsepower each and driving a six-bladed main rotor and five-bladed tail rotor.
Dependent upon operating model. Maritime combat forms equipped with torpedoes, anti-ship missiles, and naval mine dispensers.
(Not all ordnance types may be represented in the showcase above)
Hardpoint Mountings: 2
Z-18 - Base Series Designation; standardized with FLIR/TV equipment and enhanced communications set; maritime model.
Z-18F - Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) variant serving Chinese Navy; surface-search radar as well as dipping sonar; sonobuoy support; provision for torpedoes, anti-ship missiles, and naval mines.
Z-18J - Airborne Early Warning (AEW) variant; equipped with locally-developed Active, Electronically-Scanned Array (AESA) radar.
Z-8G - Chinese Army variant; turreted Electro-Optical (EO) set; Terrain-Following Radar (TFR) equipped for overland travel.
Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective aerial campaigns / operations / aviation periods.
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