CHAIG (formerly Changhe Aircraft Factory), which occupies a 433 ha site at Jingdezhen, has a workforce of more than 10,000 and began producing coaches and commercial road vehicles in 1974. These and other automotive products still account for much of output, but batch-produced helicopters have included the Z-8 and Z-l 1. CHAIG is responsible for manufacture of the tailcone vertical fin and horizontal stabiliser of the Sikorsky S-92 helicopter. The tail for the first S-92 was delivered to Sikorsky in May 1997. Changhe is also thought likely to become the centre for any Chinese licensed manufacture of the AgustaWestland A 109E Power, which was the subject of Sino-Italian negotiations in late 2002/earIy 2003.
Chinese name: Zhishengji-8 (Vertical take-off aircraft 8)
TYPE: Multirolc 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 FLA 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.
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 1,380kW P&WC PT6B-67A turhoshaft was selected in November 2002. Additional 671kW of power expected to enhance 'hot-and-high' performance, including increase in service ceiling to 4,700m 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 Zhungnaii 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 1,156kW and 20% 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 3,072kW.
Standard internal fuel capacity 3,900 litres, 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.
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 275kg capacity hydraulic rescue hoist and two five-person life rafts. 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 250kg mines) or minesweeping.
Jane's All the World's Aircraft, 2004-2005