AS 565 Panther Naval Helicopter
The PLA Navy acquired a small number of the French Aérospatiale (now Eurocopter) AS 565 SA Panther naval helicopter in the late 1980s in order to support its new generation destroyers and frigates. The AS 565 Panther is the military version of the Eurocopter AS 365 Dauphin medium-weight multi-purpose twin-engine helicopter, and the AS 565 SA is the naval anti-submarine warfare (ASW) variant based on the SA 365 N2 design. The AS 565 SAs in the PLA Navy were seen operating from most Chinese indigenous surface combatant constructed after 1990. In the future these helicopters will be gradually replaced by the Chinese indigenous HAMC Z-9C, which was also based on the SA 365 N2 design.
The helicopter has a four-blade main rotor, with two turboshaft engines mounted side by side on top of the cabin with an air intake on side of motor hump and exhausts at the rear of the hump. The teardrop-shaped body features a tapered boom to the tail fin, a rounded nose and stepped-up cockpit. The nose of the helicopter is slightly stretched to accommodate the surface search radar antenna. There is a landing assistance system installed under the fuselage of the helicopter. A pair of weapon pylon for carrying torpedoes are attached to the lower part of the fuselage.
The helicopter has hydraulically-operated retractable tricycle type landing gear. The nose unit is twin-wheeled and retracts rearward. The main units are single-wheeled and retract into wheel troughs in the fuselage. All three units of the land gear are equipped with oleopneumatic shock absorbers. Some Z-9Cs are equipped with a landing assistance system.
The AS 565 Panther carries a French-made ORB-32 search radar surface search radar in the nose. ASW equipments onboard include a dipping sonar, active/ passive sonobuoys, and radio receiver.
The AS 565 Panther is fitted with external pylon to carry a single Chinese indigenous ET52 anti-submarine torpedoes. The ET52 was a Chinese copy of the Italian Whitehead A244/S, using active/passive acoustic homing to a maximum range of 9.5km.
The helicopter is powered by two 635kW (851hp) Turbomeca Arriel-2C turboshafts. The fuel capacity is 1,140 litre, with option for a 400 litre ferry tank.
Flight crew: 2
Length: 13.73m (with blades turning)
Main rotor diameter: 11.94m
Weight (empty): 2,305kg
Weight (maximum take off): 4,300kg
Engine: 2 x Turbomeca Arriel-2C turboshaft, each rated at 635kW (851hp)
Internal fuel: 1,140 litre
Maximum speed: 285km/h
Endurance: >4 hours
Maximum payload: 1,600kg
Armament: 1 x anti-submarine torpedo
Last update: 3 January 2009