Type: Small utility transport Designer/Manufacturer: AVIC Harbin Aircraft Industry Group (HAIG) First flight: 14 July 1982 Operators: PLA Air Force Crew: 2
The Y-12 was developed in the late 1970s as a small transport and utility aircraft. First flying in 1980, the aircraft has become a commercial success, being sold to a number of countries including the United States (the only Chinese-made aircraft to be sold in the U.S.) for both military and commercial purposes. The PLAAF operates the aircraft for air survey and parachute training roles.
Since its introduction in 1980, the Y-12 has received numerous redesigns and improvements, resulting a long list of variants being introduced. Early variants of the aircraft were powered by two 620-hsp (456-kW) Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-27 turboprops with Hartzell propellers, while these were replaced by the indigenous WJ-9 turboprop engine on the Y-12 (IV) variant.
The latest Y-12F variant, which began development in 2005, is almost a completely new design. The aircraft made maiden flight in December 2010 and was certified for commercial flight by ACCA in February 2016. The aircraft has a maximum take-off weight of 8.4 t (increased from 7.7 t in earlier variants) and cargo payload of 3 t (increased from 2.7 t).
The PLAAF has been operating a small number of the Y-12C, a military variant based on the Y-12 (IV), for aerial survey missions. From 2013, the PLA Airborne Corps also introduce the Y-12D to replace its ageing Y-5 for parachute training. The Y-12D features improved indigenous engines (WJ-9B?) with four-blade propellers, as well as military avionics including VHF/UHF radio, INS/GPS navigation, and IFF. Each Y-12D can carry up to 10 armed paratroopers.