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Harbin Z-9 (Haitun)


Medium-Lift Transport / Gunship Helicopter


China | 1994



"The Chinese Harbin Z-9 series medium helicopter is a license-produced version of the French Eurocopter Dauphin."



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 07/06/2020 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
Harbin Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation of China began local-license production of the French Aerospatiale AS365 Dauphin in 1981 as the Harbin Z-9 (NATO: "Haitun"). The original AS365 - a multirole helicopter - was developed in the early 1970s and saw its first flight in 1975 to which serial production began in 1978. A militarized version then appeared as the AS565 "Panther" which considerably broadened the type's reach on the battlefield. Initial Z-9s were produced in China from kits delivered by Aerospatiale and was formally introduced into service with Chinese military forces in 1994. Subsequent production has seen the series reach 200 examples including a dedicated armed attack variant known as the "Z-9WZ". The AS365 is now associated with the Eurocopter brand label as Aerospatiale became defunct in July of 2000.

The Chinese Z-9 retains much of the appearance of its French counterpart, proving the design sound and robust. The fuselage is well streamlined with the two-seat cockpit well-ahead in the configuration. Both pilots manage excellent vantage points from their respective side-by-side seating as most of the forward panels are transparent, allowing for unfettered upward, downward, forward and side-to-side views. The nose assembly is a short rounded cap. Aft of the cockpit is the passenger cabin which is externally dominated by large rectangular windows. The engines are situated atop the cabin and house a pair of turboshaft powerplants driving the four-blade main rotor and a tail rotor shrouded in a Fenestron assembly. The Fenestron assembly works to counter both the inherent torque effect of the main rotor blades (which tend to rotate the aircraft opposite the direction of rotation) and dulls noise levels of the tail rotor to an extent. While effective, Fenestron shrouds tend to be a costlier option than conventional open-air tail rotors. The tail rotor is driven by the engines via a shaft running inside the tail stem. Vertical tail fins are located along the sides of the stem and are extended out via short pylons. There is also a primary vertical tail fin atop the Fenestron shroud, integrated cleanly into the design. The Z-9 features a wheeled tricycle undercarriage that is wholly retractable, the nose landing gear sporting a pair of rubber-tired wheels while each main landing gear leg is assigned one.

The Z-9 is crewed by two personnel as standard with passenger seating for up to 8. The Z-9 can also accept medical litters in a MEDEVAC roles and can haul up to 4,200lb of internal cargo with seating removed. Beyond its transport and passenger-hauling capabilities, the Z-9 has also been developed into an armed helicopter capable of engaging armored vehicles, surface warships, "soft" targets and low-flying aircraft through various munition options along wing stubs aft of the passenger cabin.

After some experience in construction and operation of the original Z-9 mark, the Chinese moved quickly to develop a mostly-indigenous version of the French design. Utilizing up to 70% local Chinese components, the Z-9B variant was unveiled in late 1992, undertaking a successful first flight in November of that year. After some slight changes to the pilot vehicle, serial production was begun in 1993 resulting in its adoption by Chinese Army forces the following year. The Z-9B model differs primarily from the French design by introduction of an 11-blade shrouded tail rotor as opposed to the original's 13-blade assembly. Introduction of the Z-9B quickly superseded the French-minded Z-9 production models.

The Z-9 is powered by a pair of locally-made Zhuzhou Aeroengine Factory WZ-8A turboshaft engines (essentially local copies of the French Turbomeca Arriel) mounted in a side-by-side configuration. Each outputs 848 horsepower which supply the aircraft with a top speed of 190 miles per hour, a ferry range of 620 miles and a service ceiling of 14,700 feet.

Since its inception, the Z-9 has been manufactured or promoted in several marks beginning with the aforementioned baseline Z-9, this based on the AS365N1 Dauphin. The similar Z-9A was then based on the improved AS365N2. The Z-9A-100 was the Chinese-centric pilot vehicle which became the production Z-9B. The AS565 "Panther" is produced by Harbin under the designation of Z-9C and is a navalized anti-ship variant for the Pakistan Navy, outfitted with a dipping sonar array, radar warning receiver (RWR) and support for torpedoes among other needed changes. The Z-9W (also known as the WZ-9) is the dedicated armed version that sports pylons along the sides of the fuselage (aft of the side cabin doors). These pylons can mount various ordnance options as needed (missiles, gun pods, rocket pods, etc.). The Z-9W is exported as the "Z-9G". The Z-9WA brings along support for night vision equipment. The WZ-19 is a stealth attack helicopter version of the Z-9 family and is currently in development. The design features tandem seating for its two pilots and is centered around the dedicated attack function with an applicable countermeasures suite and crew protection when traveling at low altitudes in hostile environments. A prototype of this mark is known to have crashed in September of 2010, undoubtedly a setback for the program as a whole. The H410A introduced the WZ8C powerplants as well as a Mast-Mounted Sight (MMS) which allowed the helicopter to remain partially hidden behind cover while identifying and tracking targets over-the-horizon. The H425 is a passenger-hauling VIP transport based on the H410A mark.

The Z-9 series has seen low export numbers to date, serving Bolivia, Cape Verde, Kenya, Laos, Mali, Mauritania, Namibia and Pakistan. Pakistan is the largest foreign operator of the type with 12 examples in service though of little surprise as both countries maintain a close working military relationship.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Harbin Z-9 (Haitun) Medium-Lift Transport / Gunship Helicopter.
2 x Zhuzhou Aeroengine Factory WZ-8A turboshaft engine developing 848 horsepower each.
Propulsion
190 mph
305 kph | 165 kts
Max Speed
14,764 ft
4,500 m | 3 miles
Service Ceiling
621 miles
1,000 km | 540 nm
Operational Range
1,800 ft/min
549 m/min
Rate-of-Climb
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Structure
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Harbin Z-9 (Haitun) Medium-Lift Transport / Gunship Helicopter.
2
(MANNED)
Crew
37.5 ft
11.44 m
O/A Length
39.4 ft
(12.00 m)
O/A Width
13.2 ft
(4.01 m)
O/A Height
4,409 lb
(2,000 kg)
Empty Weight
9,039 lb
(4,100 kg)
MTOW
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected below are altitude, speed, and range. The more full the box, the more balanced the design.
RANGE
ALT
SPEED
Armament
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Harbin Z-9 (Haitun) Medium-Lift Transport / Gunship Helicopter .
OPTIONAL (with armed variants):

Air-to-Air Missiles
Air-to-Surface Missiles
Cannon pods
Rocket Pods
Machine Gun Pods
Variants
Notable series variants as part of the Harbin Z-9 (Haitun) family line.
Z-9 - Base Series Designation of license-produced Eurocopter AS.365N1 Dauphin transport helicopter.
Z-9A - Locally-produced variant of the Eurocopter AS.365N2 Dauphin (improved) transport helicopter.
Z-9A-100 - Civil transport version; fitted with WZ8A series turboshaft engines.
Z-9B - Multirole variant based on the Z-9A-100 production model.
Z-9C - License-produced copy of the similar Eurocopter AS.565 Panther series (militarized Dauphin); exported to Pakistan (Navy).
Z-9EC - Pakistani Navy Anti-Ship Variant; dipping sonar system; integrated radar array; radar warning receiver; increased countermeasures.
Z-9W (WZ-9) - Attack Variant of the base Z-9; added optics and wing pylons for armament support.
Z-9WA - Night Variant; FLIR system in chin turret; various optics.
Z-9G - Export Designation of Z-9WA production models.
H410A - Armed Variant; fitted with WZ8C series turboshaft engines; FLIR system in chin turret.
H425 - VIP Variant based on the H410A production model.
H450 - Proposed Unknown Variant
WZ-19 - Proposed Stealth Attack Helicopter; featuring tandem seating for flight crew.
Operators
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Harbin Z-9 (Haitun). Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 200 Units

Contractor(s): Harbin Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation - China
National flag of Bolivia National flag of China National flag of Namibia National flag of Pakistan

[ Bolivia; Cape Verde; China; Kenya; Laos; Mali; Mauritania; Namibia; Pakistan ]
Relative Max Speed
Hi: 200mph
Lo: 100mph
Aircraft Max Listed Speed (190mph).

Graph Average of 150 MPH.
Era Crossover
Pie graph section
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Max Alt Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Production Comparison
200
36183
44000
Entry compared against Ilyushin IL-2 (military) and Cessna 172 (civilian) total production.
MACH Regime (Sonic)
Sub
Trans
Super
Hyper
HiHyper
ReEntry
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030
Aviation Timeline
EarlyYrs
WWI
Interwar
WWII
ColdWar
Postwar
Modern
Future
1 / 2
Image of the Harbin Z-9 (Haitun)
Image from the Chinese Ministry of Defense.
2 / 2
Image of the Harbin Z-9 (Haitun)
Front right underside view of a hovering Harbin Z-9 Haitun helicopter

Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to airborne requirements.
GROUND ATTACK
CLOSE-AIR SUPPORT
ANTI-SHIP
VIP SERVICE
RECONNAISSANCE
SPECIAL FORCES
Recognition
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The Harbin Z-9 (Haitun) Medium-Lift Transport / Gunship Helicopter appears in the following collections:
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