Friday, December 25, 2009

Chinese Homegrown Medium-Lift Helicopter AC313

AC313 helicopter@peter peng blog

Following a breakthrough on the technology of helicopter turboshaft engines, Chinese medium-lift helicopter has entered the prototype manufacturing stage. The Chinese R&D AC313 Modal helicopter with 13 tons of maximum take-off weight is scheduled to have its first flight at the beginning of 2010, according to Chinese newspaper People’s Daily.

The Chinese AC313 helicopter is compatible with the Sikorsky S-92, which is a four-bladed twin-engine medium-lift helicopter built by Sikorsky Aircraft of U.S. for both the civil and military market. Its maximum take-off weight is about 13 tons. The H-92 Superhawk is a military variant of S-92, capable of taking 22 troops, carrying out military transportation, search and rescue (SAR) in battlefields. Canadian Forces is developing its variant CH-148 Cyclone as a naval helicopter for anti-submarine warfare (ASW), surveillance, and search and rescue (SAR) from Canadian warships.

Recently, U.S. announced it would sell another 60 UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters to Taiwan. The UH-60 is also a four-bladed, twin-engine, medium-lift helicopter manufactured by Sikorsky Aircraft. Its maximum take-off weight is 11.6 tons, less than the Chinese homegrown AC313. The analysts believe China chose this moment telling the world about its AC313 is trying to beat U.S. psychologically regarding the upcoming 60 Blackhawk helicopters to Taiwan.