Harbin Z-9



Established as Harbin Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation (Harbin Feiji Zhizao Gongsi; HAMC) 1952, subsequently producing H-5 light bomber (Soviet-designed IL-28) and Z-5 helicopter (Soviet-designed Mi-4) in large numbers, as well as smaller quantities of Chinese-designed SH-5 flying-boat and Y-11 agricultural light twin. Now core company of Harbin Aircraft Industry Group (HAIG) under AVIC II. Occupies 514 ha (1.270 acre) site, including 350,000 m2 of workshop space. Workforce in 1998 (latest figure provided) numbered approximately 18,000.

Currently producing own-design Y-12 utility light twin and licence-manufacturing Eurocopter Dauphin 2 as Z-9; also developing new 'Z-X' helicopter. Subcontract work includes Dauphin doors for Eurocopter.

HAI is partnered by Eurocopter and Singapore Technologies Aerospace in the Eurocopter EC 120 Colibri programme, for which it builds the cabin.


Chinese name: Zhishengji-9 (Vertical take-off aircraft 9)

English name: Dolphin

TYPE: Light utility helicopter.

PROGRAMME: Licence-built Eurocopter AS 365N Dauphin 2. Licence agreement (Aerospatiale/CATIC) signed 2 July 1980; first (French-built) example made initial acceptance flight in China 6 February 1982; Chinese parts manufacture began 1986; initial agreed batch of 50, last of which delivered January 1992. Production continuing under May 1988 domestic contract. Plans to introduce Arriel 2C announced mid-2001, following delivery of two of these engines in April; first flight achieved in September 2001.


Z-9: Initial Chinese version, equivalent to French AS 365N1 and assembled from French-built kits: 28 completed.

Z-9A: Follow-on kit-built version, to AS 365N2 standard. Final 22 of first 50 were of this version.

Z-9A-100: Effectively, prototypes for domestic licence-built version, with WZ8A engines and much increased local manufacture (72.2% of airframe and 91% of engine). Two built; first flight 16 January 1992; flight test programme completed 20 November 1992 after almost 200 flight hours (408 flights); Chinese type approval received 30 December 1992.

Z-9B: First indigenous production version, based on Z-9A-100. Modified Fenestron with 11 wider-chord, all-composites blades instead of 13 metal blades as in AS 365N1. Principal unarmed PLA version for SAR, artillery direction, EW, troop transport (accommodates eight), communications and other utility duties. Certified also for domestic commercial operations 19 April 2001.

Data apply to Z-9A except where indicated.

Z-9C: Version for PLA Naval Air Force, for deployment aboard certain classes of destroyers and frigates; in service by late 2000. Believed to be equivalent to Arriel 2-engined Eurocopter AS 565 Panther, but equipped with Thales HS-12 dipping sonar and KLC-11/J-band (Chinese version of Agrion 15) surface search radar; armament includes two Yu-7 torpedoes or TV-guided C-701 anti-surface vessel missiles.

WZ-9: Armed (wuzliuang) version (also reported as Z-9W); eight Norinco HJ-8 (Hongjian: Red Arrow) wire-guided anti-tank missiles, twin 12.7mm machine gun or 23mm cannon pods, or twin 57 or 90mm rocket pods, and gyro stabilised, roof-mounted optical sight. First flight thought to have been in early 1989; in production. Export designation Z-9G, available with or without roof-mounted sight.

A photograph shown on an Internet website has illustrated a model of a dedicated attack helicopter, clearly based on the Z-9 airframe but having a modified nose embodying a side-by-side two-person cockpit. Armament and equipment includes up to eight anti-tank missiles or IR-guided short-range AAMs, nose-mounted FLIR and roof-mounted optical sighting system.

H410A: Version with 635kW Arriel 2C (WZ8C) turboshafts for improved 'hot-and-high' performance. (Designation signifies 4.10 tonne MTOW.) First flight September 2001; CAAC certification 10 July 2002. Initial orders for eight.

H425: VIP version of H410A (thus 4.25 tonne MTOW); improvements to rotor system, fuel system and structure (crashworthiness), avionics and interior layout.

H450: Projected (4.50 tonne MTOW) development of H425: further improvements to rotors, transmission and control system.

CUSTOMERS: Total 110 (all versions) reportedly built by mid-2001; eight H410As ordered mid-2002 by Far Eastern Leasing Company. China State Oceanic Administration and Zhoushan Civil Aviation Development Company. Most early production for Chinese armed services (People's Navy Aviation and Army Aviation each at least 25) and People's Armed Police (four delivered 12 September 2001). Entered service with two PLA army groups January and February 1988 (Beijing and Shenyang Military Regions respectively). People's Navy Aviation believed to use Z-9A for commando transport as well as shipboard communications. Ten based at former Royal Air Force airfield at Sek Kong in third quarter of 1997, following 1 July handover of Hong Kong by UK. First export made in late 2000 (two to Mali Air Force).

Civil models used for various duties including offshore oil rig support and air ambulance (four stretchers/two seats or two stretchers/five seats). In 1992, Flying Dragon Aviation received two (late production Z-9s, augmenting an Aerospatiale Dauphin) which are operated on behalf of the Ministry of Forestry. Five civil Z-9s ordered by Shenzhen Financial Leasing Company (SFLC) in 2001. One Z-9A deployed to Arctic regions in mid-1999, on scientific survey ship.

STRUCTURE: Transmission manufactured by Dongan Engine Manufacturing Company at Harbin, hubs and tail rotor blades by Baoding Propeller Factory.

POWER PLANT: TWO 547kW Turbomeca Arriel 1C1 turboshafts, produced by SAEC at Zhuzhou as WZ8A. From 2001, H410A powered by Arriel 2Cs as WZ8C. Fuel capacity 1,140 litres. Option for 180 litre auxiliary tank.

ARMAMENT (WZ-9): Up to eight HJ-8 or HJ-8E ATMs (range 3 km); twin 12.7mm or 23mm gun pods; or two pods of 57 or 90mm rockets. Possible other weapons include TY-90 IR-guided AAM (already test- flown on Z-9 in 1998; range of 6 km) and C-701 TV-guided anti-ship missile (15 km).

Jane's All the World's Aircraft, 2004-2005


 HAI Z-9

Technical data for Z-9A

Empty weight equipped: 2050kg, max take-off weight: 4100kg, max level speed: 315km/h, max cruising speed at sea level: 280km/h, max vertical rate of climb: 252m/min, max forward rate of climb: 396m/min, service ceiling: 6000m, hovering ceiling IGE: 2150m, hovering ceiling OGE: 1150m, max range at 250km/h, standard tanks: 860km


Harbin Z-9 Haitun
Harbin Z-9A-100
Harbin Z-9C
Military Z-9s
Harbin WZ-9G
WZ-9G scematics
Harbin H410A
Harbin H425
Hypothetical WZ-9 attack helicopter
Unknown variant with unidentified nose radar