The AC313, built by the helicopter division of the China Aviation Industry Corporation, Avicopter, made its maiden flight from Jingdezhen in Jiangxi Province.
Avicopter claims intellectual property rights of the aircraft despite possibly some design origins in the Aerospatiale Super Frelon.
Avicopter says the AC313, which can carry 27 passengers and has a maximum range of 900 km, will fill a gap in China’s helicopter product line-up. It can be used for transport, cargo, search and rescue, fire-fighting, offshore exploration and medical evacuation missions.
Hang Zhang Biao, director of Industrial Science and Technology Committee called for increased state investment in heavy-lift helicopters as soon as possible to start the development projects, and urged the state to support heavy-lift helicopter development, like it is doing with the development of heavy-lift fixed wing aircraft.
Shephard reports that China has also been in discussions with Russian Helicopters about developing a 20 ton heavy-lift helicopter.