Chinese name: Zhishengji-8 (Vertical take-off aircraft 8)

TYPE: Multirole helicopter

PROGRAMME: Design work begun 1976, but suspended from 1979 to mid-1984; initial flight of first prototype 11 December 1985, second prototype October 1987; domestic type approval awarded 8 April 1989; first Z-8 handed over to PLA Naval Air Force for service trials 5 August 1989; initial production approved; final design approval granted 12 November 1994. Applications include troop transport, ASW/ASV, search and rescue, minelaying/sweeping, aerial survey and firefighting.

CURRENT VERSIONS: Z-8: Standard version, as described.
Z-8A: Reported designation of upgraded version, with Turbomeca Makila 2A engines matched to Turmo gearbox. Pratt & Whitney Canada also a candidate for any re-engining programme. Two Z-8As reportedly delivered to PLA Army Aviation for evaluation in 2001; camouflaged; lack nose radome and side-mounted floats.
Z-8F: Improved and more powerful version, for which the 1,380 kW (1,850 shp) P&WC PT6B-67A turboshaft was selected in November 2002. Additional 671 kW (900 shp) of power expected to enhance 'hot-and-high' performance, including increase in service ceiling to 4,700 m (15,420 ft) at MTOW and increased payload capacity. Other improvements said to include new (composites) main rotor blades, with anti-icing; new avionics and mission equipment. Duties envisaged are search and rescue, general utility missions and logistics support.

CUSTOMERS: Up to 20 delivered to PLA Navy by end of 1999. No firm evidence of production status since then, but type still being promoted by CATIC in 2002. Sole operating naval unit is Shipborne Helicopter Group within East Sea Fleet at Dachang(Shanghai).

DESIGN FEATURES: Chinese equivalent of Aerospatiale Super Frelon, of which 16 supplied to PLA Navy in 1977-78. Six-blade main rotor and five-blade tail rotor; boat-hull fuselage with watertight compartments inside planing bottom, stabilising float at rear each side, attached to small stub-wing; small, strut-braced fixed horizontal stabiliser on starboard side of tail rotor pylon. Search radar in nose 'thimble' on SAR version.

FLYING CONTROLS: Pitch control fitting at root of each main rotor blade; drag and flapping hinges for each blade mounted on rotor head starplates; each main blade also has a hydraulic drag damper Fully redundant flight control system, with Dong Fang KJ-8 autopilot.

STRUCTURE: Stressed skin metal fuselage, with riveted watertight compartments; gearboxes manufactured by Zhongnan Transmission Machinery Factory.

LANDING GEAR: Non-retractable tricycle type, with twin wheels and low-pressure oleo-pneumatic shock-absorber on each unit. Small tripod tailskid under rear of tailboom. Boat hull and side floats permit emergency water landings and take-offs.

POWER PLANT: Three Changzhou (CLXMW) WZ6 turboshafts, each with maximum emergency rating of 1,156 kW (1,550 shp) and 20 per cent power reserve at S/L, ISA. Two engines side by side in front of main rotor shaft and one aft of shaft. Transmission rated at 3,072 kW (4,120 shp).
Standard internal fuel capacity 3,900 litres (1,030 US gallons; 858 Imp gallons), in flexible tanks under floor of centre-fuselage. Auxiliary fuel tanks can be carried inside cabin for extended-range or self-ferry missions, increasing total capacity to 5,800 litres (1,532 US gallons; 1,276 Imp gallons).

ACCOMMODATION: Crew of two or three on flight deck. Accommodation in main cabin for up to 27 fully armed troops, or 39 without equipment; up to 15 stretchers and a medical attendant in ambulance configuration; a BJ-212 Jeep-type vehicle and its crew; or other configurations according to mission. Entire accommodation heated, ventilated, soundproofed and vibration-proofed. Forward-opening crew door on each side of flight deck. Rearward-sliding door at front of cabin on starboard side. Hydraulically actuated rear-loading ramp/door.

EQUIPMENT: Equipment for SAR role can include 275 kg (606 lb) capacity hydraulic rescue hoist and two five-person liferafts. Can also be equipped with sonar, sonobuoys, search radar, or equipment for oceanography, geological survey and forest firefighting.

ARMAMENT: Can be equipped with Yu-7 torpedoes, anti-shipping missiles, or gear for minelaying (eight 250 kg mines) or minesweeping.

Main rotor diameter 18.90 m (62 ft 0 in)
Tail rotor diameter 4.00 m (13 ft 11/2 in)
Length overall, rotors turning 23.035 m (75 ft 7 in)
Height overall, rotors turning 6.66 m (21 ft 101/4 in)
Width over main gear sponsons 5.20 m (17 ft 03/4 in)
Main rotor blades (each) 5.10 m2 (54.90 sq ft)
Tail rotor blades (each) 0.56 m2 (6.03 sq ft)
Main rotor disc 280.48 m2 (3,019.1 sq ft)
Tail rotor disc 12.57 m2 (135.3 sq ft)
Manufacturer's weight empty 6.980 kg (15,388 lb)
Weight empty, equipped 7,550 kg (16,645 lb)
Max cargo payload: internal 4,000 kg (8,818 lb)
on external sling 5,000 kg (11,023 lb)
Max T-O weight: standard fuel 10,592 kg (23.351 lb)
with auxiliary fuel 13,000 kg (28,660 lb)
Max disc loading:
standard fuel 37.8 kg/m2 (7.73 lb/sq ft)
auxiliary fuel 46.35 kg/m2 (9.49 lb/sq ft)
Transmission loading at max T-O weight and power
standard fuel 3.45 kg/kW (5.67 lb/shp)
auxiliary fuel 4.23 kg/kW (6.96 lb/shp)
PERFORMANCE (A: at T-O weight of 9,000 kg; 19,841 lb,
B: at 11,000 kg; 24,251 lb, C: at 13,000 kg; 28,660 lb):
Never-exceed speed (VNE):
A 170 kt (315 km/h; 195 mph)
B 159 kt (296 km/h 183 mph
C 148 kt (275 km/h; 170 mph)
Max cruising speed:
A 143 kt (266 km/h; 165 mph)
B 140 kt (260 km/h; 161 mph)
C 134 kt (248 km/h; 154 mph)
Econ cruising speed:
A 137 kt (255 km/h; 158 mph)
B 132 kt (246 km/h; 153 mph)
C 125 kt (232 km/h; 144 mph)
Rate of climb at S/L (15o 30' collective pitch, OEI):
A 690 m (2,263 ft)/min
B 552 m (1,811 ft)/min
C 396 m (1,299 ft)/min
Service ceiling:
A 6,000 m (19,680 ft)
B 4,900 m (16,080 ft)
C 3,050 m (10,000 ft)
Hovering ceiling IGE:
A 5,500 m (18,040 ft)
B 3,600 m (11,800 ft)
C 1,900 m (6,240 ft)
Hovering ceiling OGE:
A 4,400 m (14,440 ft)
B 2,300 m (7,540 ft)
Range with max standard or auxiliary fuel, OEI,
no reserves:
A 232 n miles (430 km; 267 miles)
B 442 n miles (820 km; 509 miles)
C 431 n miles (800 km; 497 miles)
Ferry range with auxiliary fuel tanks, OEI,
no reserves:
C 755 n miles (1,400 km; 870 miles)
Endurance with max standard or auxiliary fuel, OEI,
no reserves:
A 2 h 31 min
B 4 h 43 min
C 4 h 10 min