Chinese-Russian Heavy Lift Helicopter Looks to Sikorsky CH-53E for Inspiration

The Chinese -Russian 38-ton Advanced Heavy Lift (AHL) helicopter project could draw inspiration from the American CH-53E Super Stallion.

The proposed helicopter designated as AC332 AHL will likely feature a main rotor and a tail rotor like the American CH-53E, unlike the tandem rotor design used by the Boeing CH-47 Chinook.

“This is because China now has a better technological reserve in the former, so the development risk is lower,” according to Deng Deng Jinghui, the chief designer at the China Helicopter Research and Development Institute of the Aviation Industry Corporation of China who made the comments during an interview aired on China Central Television (CCTV) on Tuesday.

The AC332 AHL is planned as the leading heavy lift helicopter in the world, to be able to carry more cargo than the Russian Mi-26 and the American pair of CH-53E Super Stallion and the CH-47 Chinook.

The AC332 AHL, will have a maximum take-off weight of 38.2 tons and a service ceiling of 5,700 meters, a flight range of 391 miles at a maximum speed of 186 miles per hour. It will be able to carry up to 60 passengers or 10 tons of cargo internally and 15 tons on an external sling.

Russia will provide technical help to China develop the AC332 AHL, a contract to this effect was signed in June 2021. Russia will design a number of key components of the helicopter, as well as provide technologies. AVIC subsidiary, Avicopter will design and serially produce the helicopter.

CEO Russian Helicopters, Andrei Boginsky was quoted as saying by TASS that Russia will develop the transmission, tail rotor and anti-icing system for the new helicopter. The AC332 AHL is expected to enter service in the middle of the next decade.