Testing of Upgraded Chinese AC313A Helicopter Underway in Harsh Climatic Conditions in Northeastern China

AC313 series: World's first civilian helicopter with Class A airworthiness at 4,500m.
  • Defensemirror.com bureau
  • 12:37 PM, January 19, 2024
  • 843
Testing of Upgraded Chinese AC313A Helicopter Underway in Harsh Climatic Conditions in Northeastern China
AC313A helicopter @Chinese state media

Test flights of the enhanced AC313A helicopter have commenced in the challenging climatic conditions of Heilongjiang province, located in northeastern China.

Chinese state-owned media reported the initiation of these trials, aimed at confirming the helicopter's suitability for deployment in search and rescue missions and transportation under extreme weather conditions where conventional civilian models might face limitations.

The upgraded AC313A helicopter, which took its maiden flight in May 2023, has undergone a series of enhancements, including a new engine, transmission, modernized control system, avionics, and more. Primarily designed to operate efficiently in severe climatic conditions characterized by both extremely high and low temperatures, the helicopter is now in the final stages of factory trials after a seven-month testing period.

The AC313A, belonging to the 13-ton class of heavy multi-role civil helicopters, is distinguished by its ability to accommodate up to 27 passengers or 15 wounded individuals on stretchers due to its substantial size.

Notably, the AC313 series previously achieved a milestone by becoming the world's first civilian helicopter to receive a Class A airworthiness certificate at an altitude of 4,500 meters above sea level.

Following a three-month hiatus after its first flight, the development team initiated factory tests in Yunnan, Guizhou, and Sichuan in September 2023, evaluating the helicopter's flight characteristics under diverse usage conditions. Once the final testing phase concludes successfully, serial production is expected to commence.

Presently, AC313 helicopters are actively employed by China's rescue services, with the armed version serving the Chinese police. The helicopter's versatility and robust design have contributed to its adoption in critical roles within the nation.

In contrast, Australia has taken a different course regarding its MRH90 Taipan helicopters. As reported by Jane's, the Australian government has initiated the dismantling process for its fleet of 45 MRH90 Taipan helicopters. This decision follows the lack of interest from other countries or parties in acquiring these helicopters.

According to a spokesperson from the Australian Department of Defense, efforts are underway to collaborate with Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to salvage certain components from the MRH90 helicopters. This move represents a strategic approach to repurpose and recover valuable assets from the decommissioned fleet.

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