China-based Avicopter unveiled the first prototype of the AC352 medium twin, the Chinese version of the Airbus Helicopters H175, last week at China Helicopter Expo in Tianjin. The company also announced that oil-and-gas operator Citic Offshore Helicopter is the launch customer. Developed under an Airbus-Avic 50-50 joint program, the Turbomeca/Avic Engine Ardiden 3C/WZ16-powered AC352 is equipped with the same Helionix avionics suite and four-axis autopilot as its European counterpart. Avicopter expects to fly the AC352 by year-end.
Also displayed at the Chinese show was the AC322, previously known as the AC3X2. Avicopter provided preliminary details on the performance of the 6,600-pound single helicopter, which is targeted at the EMS market. Maximum speed is said to be 145 knots, range 380 nm, endurance 4.2 hours and ceiling 16,400 feet.
In addition, the company received orders for 13 AC311As, the light single that is slated to enter service early next year. Powered by a Turbomeca Arriel 2B1A, the 4,400-pound helicopter first flew in August last year.
Finally, Chinese media confirmed Avicopter and Russian Helicopters intend to develop an 84,000-pound helicopter, a scale model of which was shown at the Chinese helicopter show.