Changhe Z-8 is a triple engine, multi-role helicopter designed and manufactured by China Changhe Aircraft Industry Group.
As early as the 1970s, China has purchased French navalized SA321 Super Frelon helicopters. The Chinese Navy has used the Super Frelon for Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and Search and Rescue (SAR) operations. These were the first helicopters in Chinese inventory capable of operating from a warships’ flight deck.
In 1976, the PRC leadership decided to establish a licensed copy of the Super Frelon helicopter. The Chinese version of this helicopter was decided to be called Z-8. Changhe’s domestic Z-8 made its maiden flight in 1985. In August 1989, the helicopter entered service.
Changhe Z-8 has an empty weight of 7 tons, maximum take-off weight is about over 10 tons. It has a length of 23m, a main rotor diameter of 18.9m, and a height of 6.76m.
Changhe Z-8 has been awarded the “National Scientific and Technological Development” award. It has a rather unique design as it can land and take off from the water surface. The Z-8 was designed with a single-rotor and a rudder propeller, three engines and a tricycle landing gear. The fuselage is a semi-monocoque type, all-metal, its lower part has a deadrise and peculiar cheekbones, it is made waterproof for the possibility of landing on water.
The stabilizer is installed on the right side of the tail boom. On the outside of the suspension, the Z-8 helicopter can carry up to 5 tons of cargo. Helicopter chassis is fixed, non-retractable, tricycle. In the marine version, the main landing gear is equipped with a special buoy.
Changhe Z-8 is equipped with three WZ-6 turboshaft engines, producing 1,511 horsepower each. One engine is mounted behind the main rotor gearbox and a side air intake, the other two have axial air intakes in front of the main rotor gearbox. The main rotor of the helicopter has six blades. The rotors are rectangular, all-metal, foldable in the anti-submarine variant.
Changhe Z-8 can reach top speed of 315 km/h, cruise speed of 266 km/h, service ceiling of 3,100m, range of 700 km and endurance of 4 hours.