Zhi-9C/D Naval Helicopter
The Zhi-9C (Z-9C) is the naval helicopter developed by the Harbin Aircraft Manufacture Co. (HAMC) for shipborne anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and search and rescue (SAR) missions. The helicopter resembles the naval variant of the French Eurocopter AS 565 Panther, of which a small number is also operational with the PLA Navy, but the two helicopters have no direct link. The Z-9C was based on the airframe of the HAMC Z-9B (AS 365N Dauphin II copy), added with surface search radar and landing assistance system.
HMAC began to develop a naval variant of its Z-9 helicopter in the mid-1980s. The first flight of the helicopter took place on 2 December 1987. However, the early naval variant Z-9 was not fitted with any ASW equipment, and could only be used for training and transport roles. As a result, the PLA Navy had to rely on the French-made AS 565 Panther for shipborne ASW and SAR missions. A further improved variant fitted with an indigenous KLC-1 surface search radar and a ASW suite was introduced in the late 1990s. This variant joined the PLA Navy service under the designation Z-9C.
The Z-9C was designed for both ASW role, equipped with dipping sonar, sonar buoys, magnetic anomaly detector (MAD), and two external weapon pylons to carry 1~2 ET52 (A244/S copy) anti-submarine torpedoes. A second mission for the Z-9C is target detection and data relay. The helicopter could use its KLC-1 surface search radar to locate enemy surface vessels at ‘over-the-horizon’ distance, and transmit the target information to the YJ-83 anti-ship missile during its midcourse flight using the datalink antenna installed on the helicopter’s cockpit roof. Some Z-9Cs are configured for SAR missions with a hoist, FLIR unit, and searchlight.
A recent Internet-source photo revealed that the HAMC is currently developing an improved variant of the Z-9C designated Z-9D. The helicopter can carry two TL-10 anti-ship missiles developed by Hongdu Aviation Industry Group
The Z-9C is generally identical to the Z-9B / SA 365 N2 Dauphin-II. 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 Z-9C is slightly stretched to accommodate the surface search radar antenna. A pair of weapon pylon for carrying torpedoes are attached to the lower part of the fuselage.
The tail flats feature swept-back tips forward of the swept-back and tapered fin with a blunt tip. Like the Z-9B, the Z-9C also features a modified 11-blade Fenestron faired-in tail rotor with wider-chord, all-composite blades instead of 13 all-metal blades as in AS 365N1.
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 helicopter can be fitted with a BG-06 radio altimeter, Type 150 single-sideband radio, and KJ-13 autopilot, and can choose the KDF-806 radio compass, KTR-908 radio, and TB-31 intercom as optional.
The Z-9C carries an indigenous KLC-1 surface search radar developed by the Nanjing Electronic Research institute (14 Institute). The X-band radar was designed to search and track surface vessels, with a maximum detection range of 92km against fishing boat-sized targets and 118km against small- to medium-sized surface vessel.
ASW equipments onboard the Z-9C include a Type 605 (Chinese copy of the U.S. AN/AQS-13) dipping sonar, a box of 12 passive sonobuoys, four active sonobuoys, a temperature buoy and a maritime environment buoy. The helicopter is equipped with a radio receiver, allowing it to receive the signal of sonobuoys at 10km range when flying at 120km/h speed.
For search and rescue missions, the helicopter can be fitted with a 250kg-capacity hoist with winch and scoop fitted externally above the starboard side cabin door, an FLIR unit and a searchlight.
The Z-9C is fitted with a pair of external pylon to carry 1~2 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 latest Z-9D can carry two Hongdu TL-10 lightweight anti-ship missiles under its weapon pylons. The missile uses active-radar homing and has a maximum range of 15km. The warhead is 30kg and flying speed is Mach 0.85.
The Z-9C is powered by two 550kW (739hp) Turbomeca Arriel-IC1 turboshafts, which are produced by SAEC at Zhuzhou as Wozhou-8A (WZ-8A). The fuel capacity is 1,140 litre, with option for a 400 litre ferry tank.
Last update: 3 January 2009