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Changhe Z-8 / Z-18 transport helicopter

Deino

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I'm in fact surprised, there is not already a thread on this originally French-based SA-321Ja Super Frelon development ... and indeed it made a dramatic development!

Latest family member is the Z-8L wide-body variant ... in comparison to the already improved Z-8G.

Z-8L finally clear 1.jpg Z-8G vs Z-8L.jpg
 

Archibald

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Thank you Deino. How did France ended selling Super Frelons to the PRC ? never got the basic story of how it happened. France & Israel never used its full development potential because Puma and because Sikorsky CH-53. The PRC seems to love it.
 

kaiserbill

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I have always thought the development potential of the Super Frelon was relatively unrealised.
It held the world record for the fastest helicopter at one stage, and was Europe's largest production helicopter for 25 years.

Yet, only just over a hundred were built before China became interested.

From an aviation perspective, I am unsurprised China decided to develop it further, and am happy the design potential is at least being realised.

Edit: Archibald, I seem to recall China's interest stemmed from a naval helicopter requirement. I seem to remember the Super Frelon being China's first regularly operational ship borne helicopter, which is a large helicopter to cut your teeth on.
 

Archibald

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The Israelis did some daring rescues and raids with theirs. In France the few left did a splendid job rescueing sailors from crippled and sinking ships near Brittany and in the Channel for nearly 40 years until 2010 (Amoco Cadiz crew included).
The Israelis tried to put US turbines on theirs but it went all wrong and Sikorskys chased them away.
But yes, underdeveloped except by China.
 

kaiserbill

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I saw an interesting statement that Israel were going to order more, but this was stopped when they turned to the US instead of France as their major aviation supplier.
 

Archibald

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De Gaulle 1968 embargo to try and gain favor of Arab states (with the notable exception of Mirage V...I mean Neshers).
With perfect hindsight, not only France lost a good client, but it did not really helped in October 1973... it didn't spared the country the oil shock and according economic hardships.
 

robunos

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I'm in fact surprised, there is not already a thread on this originally French-based SA-321Ja Super Frelon development ... and indeed it made a dramatic development!

Latest family member is the Z-8L wide-body variant ... in comparison to the already improved Z-8G.

View attachment 658313View attachment 658314

With those big sponsons, it looks very S-92 . . .

cheers,
Robin.
 

isayyo2

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fightingirish

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I'm in fact surprised, there is not already a thread on this originally French-based SA-321Ja Super Frelon development ... and indeed it made a dramatic development!
Latest family member is the Z-8L wide-body variant ... in comparison to the already improved Z-8G.
Yes, there is a topic on "Super Frelon and developments", but IMHO we should keep that topic for only French and Aérospatiale (formerly Sud Aviation) projects and developments of this helicopter. This topic should be only about the Chinese versions and projects of the Changhe Z-8 and its civilian version Avicopter AC313.
Maybe the mods can change the title and move some posts regarding the Changhe Z-8 from the "Super Frelon" topic to this topic.
 

seruriermarshal

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Chinese Z-8 crash during fire fighting operations

On Monday 10 May 2021, two pilots were killed after a China Armed Police Forest Force Z-8AWJS (WJ560308, msn Z8AWJS-08) crashed in Erhai Lake in Dali, southwest China's Yunnan Province, during a fire fighting operation.



View: https://twitter.com/Pathort1/status/1391762849937051649
 

helmutkohl

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I'm in fact surprised, there is not already a thread on this originally French-based SA-321Ja Super Frelon development ... and indeed it made a dramatic development!

Latest family member is the Z-8L wide-body variant ... in comparison to the already improved Z-8G.

View attachment 658314
wow its certainly come a long way from this
36974_1329859815.jpg


you can barely recognize it.
kind of like how the Chinese kept updating the T-54/55 tank designs and MiG-21 design, it hardly resembles the original form.

on a related note its interesting that when it comes to fighter aircraft and tanks. they like to base it on Russian designs and evolve from there
but when its helicopters, they prefer basing it on French designs, then evolve into someething different.
 

yasotay

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Z-8L is a fine, solid looking helicopter. Would not be surprised to see it compete with other medium combat helicopters (Mi-17 and H-60 mostly) on the world market.
 

kaiserbill

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Perhaps the Mi-17, but the later Z-8's are in a whole different class to the UH-60. It's a 3 engine design of about 14t max weight, which is 40% heavier than the UH-60.
It's actually very similar in size to the large 3-engined AW101 Merlin, and both carry in and around 30 troops.
 

Anduriel

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If it's 14 ton design, then it would compete with Mi-38. And 3 engines likely become an issue, because of additional fuel consumption.
Plus there is an Mi-171A3 on the horizon (though its mosty civilian variant, but it's possible that there would be a military one).
 

helmutkohl

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If it's 14 ton design, then it would compete with Mi-38. And 3 engines likely become an issue, because of additional fuel consumption.
Plus there is an Mi-171A3 on the horizon (though its mosty civilian variant, but it's possible that there would be a military one).
on a related note, is the Mi-38 still around?
 

Anduriel

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If it's 14 ton design, then it would compete with Mi-38. And 3 engines likely become an issue, because of additional fuel consumption.
Plus there is an Mi-171A3 on the horizon (though its mosty civilian variant, but it's possible that there would be a military one).
on a related note, is the Mi-38 still around?
Well, yes, but, apparently Mi-8/171 developed so far that it became a rival to Mi-38 in most cases. Still there is a small contract from MoD, but not to extent of Mi-8 purchases.
 

helmutkohl

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If it's 14 ton design, then it would compete with Mi-38. And 3 engines likely become an issue, because of additional fuel consumption.
Plus there is an Mi-171A3 on the horizon (though its mosty civilian variant, but it's possible that there would be a military one).
on a related note, is the Mi-38 still around?
Well, yes, but, apparently Mi-8/171 developed so far that it became a rival to Mi-38 in most cases. Still there is a small contract from MoD, but not to extent of Mi-8 purchases.
im guessing the 171A3 is being built at the Ulan-Ude plant? and the 38 in Kazan?
so its a war between the Mongol plant and the Tatars lol
 

Hood

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The Super Frelon was too large for its time. It was too large even for the ASW role the French used it in (the Royal Navy looked at it but even with the rotors folded it was a big beast), and despite its size and power it wasn't really a 'flying crane' in terms of lifting capacity, which is probably why the Germans went with the CH-53. An ASW Puma would have been a better Sea King-analogue for the French I think.
But as the demand for bigger load lifters has increased, Airbus Helicopters could maybe have fitted into a niche with an updated version with Makila turboshafts and composite blades.

The Z-8L certainly is a good looking helicopter though. How much wider is the fuselage?
 

yasotay

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Agreed that the Z-8L is significantly larger platform than the H-60. However, if you are a country with a smaller budget and you could get a Z-8L for the same price or lower than an H-60, you might consider it. Of course China has a long way to go on the maintenance and world wide logistics aspect of their product. It will be interesting to see how the world market will change in the coming decade with South Korea, Turkey, and China moving into the traditionally US, Russia, Europe led markets.
 

kaiserbill

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....could maybe have fitted into a niche with an updated version with Makila turboshafts and composite blades.

This is the sort of development path I think should have happened too.
It looks as if China will now do something similar.... and more.
I think it's a smart programme from a Chinese perspective. The latest Z-8 versions are considerably further developed and modernised from the Super Frelon, and have given China a helicopter roughly in the AW101 Merlin category and capability bracket, as a brief perusal shows.
 
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