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.

CURRENT VERSIONS: Z-9: Initial Chinese version, equivalent to French AS 365 N1 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 per cent of airframe and 91 per cent 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-1 I/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 (wuzhuang) version (also reported as Z-9W); eight Norinco HJ-8 (Hongjian: Red Arrow) wire-guided anti-tank missiles, twin 12.7 mm machine gun or 23 mm cannon pods, or twin 57 or 90 mm rocket pods, and gyrostabilised, 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 635 kW (851 shp) 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 547 kW (734 shp) 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 (301 US gallons; 251 Imp gallons). Option for 180 litre (47.5 US gallon; 39.6 Imp gallon) auxiliary tank.

ARMAMENT (WZ-9): Up to eight HJ-8 or HJ-8E ATMs (range 1.6 n miles; 3 km; 1.9 miles); twin 12.7 mm or 23 mm gun pods; or two pods of 57 or 90 mm rockets. Possible other weapons include TY-90 IR-guided AAM (already test-flown on Z-9 in 1998; range of 3.2 n miles; 6 km; 3.7 miles) and C-701 TV-guided anti-ship missile (8.1 n miles; 15 km; 9.3 miles).

Weight empty, equipped 2,050 kg (4,519 lb)
Max payload 2,038 kg (4,493 lb)
Max load on cargo sling 1,600 kg (3,527 lb)
Max T-O weight, internal or external load 4,100 kg (9,039 lb)
Max level speed 170 kt (315 km/h; 195 mph)
Max cruising speed at S/L 151 kt (280 km/h; 174 mph)
Max vertical rate of climb at S/L:
Z-9A 252 m (827 ft)/min
WZ-9 210 m (689 ft)/min
Max forward rate of climb at S/L:
Z-9A 396 m (1,299 ft)/min
WZ-9 468 m (1,535 ft)/min
Service ceiling: Z-9A 6,000 m (19,680 ft)
WZ-9 4,940 m (16,200 ft)
Hovering ceiling: IGE 2,150 m (7,050 ft)
OGE 1,150 m (3,770 ft)
Max range at 135 kt (250 km/h; 155 mph) normal
cruising speed, no reserves: standard tanks:
Z-9A 464 n miles (860 km: 534 miles)
WZ-9 358 n miles (664 km; 412 miles)
with auxiliary tank:
Z-9A 539 n miles (1,000 km; 621 miles)