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Harbin Z-9
A Malinese Air Force Z-9B coming in to land.
Role Medium multi-purpose utility helicopter
Manufacturer Harbin Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation
First flight 1981
Introduction 1994
Status Operational In production
Primary users China
Produced 1981-present
Number built 200
Developed from Aérospatiale Dauphin
Variants Harbin Z-19

The Harbin Z-9 (NATO reporting name "Haitun", Chinese language: 海豚 for Dolphin[1]) is a Chinese military utility helicopter. It is a license-built version of the French Eurocopter AS365 Dauphin, and is manufactured by Harbin Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation.

Design and development

The first Z-9 flew in 1981, and was built in China from components supplied by Aérospatiale as part of a production patent bought on October 15, 1980.[2] On 16 January 1992, the indigenous variant Z-9B, constructed with 70% Chinese-made parts, flew successfully. The flight test was completed in November 1992 and the design was finalized a month later. Z-9B production began in 1993 and entered PLA service in 1994.[3]

The Z-9B features 11-blade Fenestron faired-in tail rotor with wider-chord, all-composite blades replacing the 13-blade in AS 365N. As a light tactical troop transport, the Z-9 has the capacity to transport 10 fully armed soldiers. Generally the Z-9 is identical to the AS 365N Dauphin, though later variants of the Z-9 incorporate more composite materials to increase structural strength and lower radar signature. The helicopter has a four-blade main rotor, with two turboshaft engines mounted side by side on top of the cabin with engine layout identical to the AS 365N. The Z-9 teardrop-shaped body features a tapered boom to the tail fin, with rounded nose and stepped-up cockpit, and retractable gear and all flat bottom.

In 2002, Harbin obtained Chinese certification for the new H410A variant of the Z-9, which featured more powerful Turbomeca Arriel 2C turboshaft engines; Eurocopter issued official objections to Harbin's decision to continue production in spite of the license-production agreement having expired, leading to a period of highly sensitive international negotiations to resolve the dispute.[4]


An armed variant has been fielded by the PLA since the early 1990s as the WZ-9 or Z-9W, with pylons fitted for anti-tank missiles. These helicopters lack the maneuverability and survivability of a proper attack helicopter, and merely provide a stopgap during the development of the WZ-10. The latest armed version, the Z-9W, was introduced in 2005 and has night attack capabilities, with an under-nose low-light TV and infra-red observing and tracking unit.

The naval version introduced in the 1990s is known as the Z-9C. As well as SAR and ASW duties, the Z-9C can be fitted with an X-band KLC-1 surface search radar to detect surface targets beyond the range of shipborne radar systems.[5]

Harbin Z-9W (WZ-9)

Chinese license produce of the French AS.365N1.
Chinese kit-built version of the AS.365N2.
Prototypes for domestic market versions with WZ8A engines. First flight 16 January 1992, approved 30 December 1992.
Initial version based on Z-9A-100. Multi-role.
Chinese license produce of the Eurocopter AS.565 Panther given to the PLA Naval Air Force.
ASW variant produced for the Pakistan Naval Air Arm. Configured with pulse-compression radar, low frequency dipping sonar, radar warning receiver and doppler navigation system, it is also armed with torpedoes for use aboard Pakistan Navy's F-22P Zulfiquar class frigates.[6]
Z-9W (WZ-9)
Armed version with optional pylon-mounted armament and gyro stabilised, roof-mounted optical sight. Export designation Z-9G, roof-mounted sight optional. First flown in 1987, with the first weapons tests in 1989.[7]
A newer night-capable versions have been built with nose-mounted FLIR. July 2011, Xinhua News Agency released a photo of Z-9WA firing ADK10 air-to-ground missile.[8] Incorporates a domestic Chinese helmet mounted sight that is compatible with anti-tank missiles such as HJ-8/9/10, as well as light anti-ship missiles such as C-701/703 and TL-1/10 when they are used as air-to-surface missiles, air-to-air missiles such as TY-90 and other MANPAD missiles for self-defense.[9]
Version with 635 kW WZ8C turboshaft engines. First flight September 2001, CAAC certification 10 July 2002. One is currently being fitted with a new Mast-Mounted Sighting (MMS) system.
Newest VIP version of the H410A.
Projected development.
Stealthy attack helicopter development with tandem seats. AVIC Group's WZ-19 shares the same power plant as WZ-9WA. Media reports said the WZ-19 attack helicopter in May 2010 completed its first flight. Photos had merged in Chinese internet forums early 2011.



Specifications (Z-9B)


Data from [18]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Capacity: 9 passengers or 1,900 kg (4,189 lb) payload internal, 1,600 kg (3,527 lb) payload slung
  • Length: 11.44 m (37 ft 6 in)
  • Height: 4.01 m (13 ft 2 in)
  • Empty weight: 2,050 kg (4,519 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 4,100 kg (9,039 lb)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Zhuzhou Aeroengine Factory WZ-8A turboshaft, 632 kW (848 hp) each
  • Main rotor diameter: 11.93 m (39 ft 2 in)
  • Main rotor area: 111.79 m2 (1,203.3 sq ft) swept area


  • Maximum speed: 305 km/h (190 mph; 165 kn)
  • Cruising speed: 260 km/h (162 mph; 140 kn)
  • Ferry range: 1,000 km (621 mi; 540 nmi) with internal auxiliary tank
  • Endurance: 5 hours
  • Service ceiling: 4,500 m (14,764 ft)
  • Hovering Ceiling in ground effect: 2,600 m (8,530 ft)
  • Hovering Ceiling out of ground effect: 1,600 m (5,249 ft)


2 fixed 23 mm cannon on attack variants. Pylons for rockets, gun pods, ET52 torpedo, HJ-8 anti-tank missiles, or TY-90 air-to-air missiles.

See also


  1. Parsch, Andreas; Aleksey V. Martynov (2008). "Designations of Soviet and Russian Military Aircraft and Missiles". Retrieved 2010-04-13. 
  3. "Z-9 Utility Helicopter". 2007-01-06. 
  4. "China Approves Re-engine Z-9 Twin." Flight International, July 2002. p. 43.
  5. "Z-9C (AS 565 Panther) Naval Helicopter". 2007-07-28. Retrieved 2008-03-26. 
  6.[dead link]
  8. "Z-9WA attack helicopter". Retrieved 12 July 2011. 
  9. Z-9 HMS
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 10.7 "World Air Forces 2013". Flightglobal Insight. 2013. Retrieved 19 February 2013. 
  11. "Z-9 Helicopters to Arrive in April 2013". Retrieved 17 February 2013. 
  12. "Minister For Defence At The "Meet The Press" Series At The Ministry Of Information Conference". Retrieved 17 February 2013. 
  13. "Kenya Army Z-9". Demand media. Retrieved 17 February 2013. 
  14. "Laos Z-9". Demand media. Retrieved 17 February 2013. 
  15. "Handing over and Commissioning Ceremony of H425 Z9 Helicopters". Retrieved 15 October 2013. 
  16. "China Making Its Mark In South America". Retrieved 17 February 2013. 
  17. "Zambia; AF acquires Z-9 Helicopters". Retrieved 17 February 2013. 
  18. Gordon, Yefim; Dmitry Komissarov (2008). Chinese aircraft. Manchester: Hikoki. ISBN 9 781902 109046. 

External links

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