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Harbin Z-9C


Harbin Z-9C

Z-9C naval helicopter in flight. Note the lightweight torpedo.
Source: Chinese internet - © Copyright lies with original owner

Naval helicopter
Entered service
Early 1990's
In service
Late 1980's
December 1987 (first flight)
China - HAMC
Late 1980's - present
China - HAMC
Number produced
Over 20
Haitun (NATO reporting name)
Chinese for "dolphin"
Z-9EC (export model for Pakistan)
Notable users
China - PLA Navy
Pakistan - Navy



The Z-9C is a naval helicopter of Chinese origin. The Z-9C is based on the Z-9 utility helicopter, which in turn is a license produced version of the French Eurocopter Dauphin. The PLA Navy classifies the Z-9C as an anti-submarine, anti-ship and SAR helicopter.


The Z-9C is an indigenous modification of the Z-9 for naval use, possibly carried out with French assistance. The Z-9C is not a license produced variant of the AS.565 Panther, the naval variant of the AS.365 Dauphin on which the Z-9 is based. However, the modifications carried out are very similar.


Alongside the regular avionics the Z-9C features sensors not found on the land based variant. A roof mounted FLIR sensor aids search and rescue operations and visual reconnaissance. The nose houses the KLC-1 radar, which is an X-band radar used for surface search. This transmission of surface targets, allowing the ship to engage targets with missiles such as the YJ-83 beyond the radar horizon. In the anti-submarine role a dipping sonar is used to detect targets and plot torpedo launch.


The Z-9C is able to carry and launch two lightweight torpedoes. One on either side of the fuselage. In Chinese service the Yu-7 is commonly used. The ET-52 with battery powered electrical motor is mainly intended for export. Reportedly the Italian A.244/S lightweight torpedo can also be used. Although classified as an anti-ship helicopter, the Z-9C does not carry anti-ship missiles. The anti-ship designation refers to its role as over the horizon sensor for anti-ship missiles.


The Z-9C uses two turboshaft engines to power its four blade main rotor and fenestron tail rotor. Its maximum speed is over 300 km/h.


The Z-9C is used extensively by the Chinese navy. Various frigates and destroyers carry the Z-9C. In Chinese service it is used alongside the Soviet/Russian Ka-28, which is considered more effective in the anti-submarine role. A variant with some modifications was exported to Pakistan as the Z-9EC.



The Yu-7 lightweight torpedo can be carried and launched by the Z-9C naval helicopter. This type of lightweight torpedo is in commonly used in Chinese service.


The ET-52 lightweight torpedo can be carried and launched by the Z-9C naval helicopter. This torpedo is mainly produced for export, but reportedly also used on the Z-9C in Chinese service.


Related articles

Type-054A class

The Z-9C is used on many PLA Navy vessels. The most numerous is the Type-054A (NATO: Jiangkai II) frigate.