Avicopter revealed its Advanced Heavy-lift Helicopter concept at the third Helicopter Exhibition in Tianjin. Source: Via Huanqiu

Avicopter revealed a model of its Advanced Heavylift Helicopter (ALH) concept at the third China Helicopter Exposition in Tianjin, which runs from 9 to 13 September.

ALH is intends to produce a platform similar in performance to the new Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion.

Information revealed at the show indicates the ALH will weigh 38.2 tons, have a speed of 300 km/h, a range of 630 km and a practical ceiling of 5,700 m. Previous reports indicate it will have an internal payload of 10 tons and an external payload of 15 tons.

According to Sikorsky the 39.9-ton CH-53K has a cruise speed of 261 km/h, a range of 852 km, and a ceiling of 4,383 m. Its external payload is reportedly 15.9 tons.

Despite having been a long-standing indigenous development programme, Avicopter's ALH concept shows significant foreign influence, starting with its nose, which resembles that of the co-developed Avicopter Z-15(AC352)/Airbus H175.

However, in overall design the ALH most resembles the Russian Mil Mi-46 concept from the early 1990s for a 38-ton version of Mil's successful 56-ton Mi-26 heavy lift helicopter.

[​IMG]The ALH concept is for a 38.2-ton aircraft with a reported 15-ton maximum payload. (Via Huanqiu) 

Both are seven-blade, twin-engine designs with an aft loading ramp.

Major differences include the ALH's unique cockpit configuration and its use of paddle-shaped anhedral main rotor blade tips, which help improve helicopter speed.

The ALH's similarity to the Mi-46 concept is not surprising as since about 2007 Russia has been promoting it to China as the basis for a co-developed heavy-lift helicopter. Recently this project has benefitted from personal lobbying by Russian president Vladimir Putin, leading to an 8 May 2015 "framework agreement" on helicopter co-development.

Russian sources have said this could lead to a formal contract before the end of 2015. They have also said that China could have a requirement for up to 200 heavy-lift helicopters.

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Avicopter shows off Advanced Heavylift Helicopter (ALH) model at Tianjin helo expo - IHS Jane's 360

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