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Q - Qiangjiji - Attack Aircraft

The attack aircraft is also called close air support aircraft. Its main task is to attack from low altitude or nap-of-the-earth enemy's tactical surface effective strength and military targets or the targets in depth of a battle field to support directly operations of own ground troops. The aircraft used for ground attack appeared for its first time during the First World War. During the Second World War the Soviet 11-2 and I1-10 attack aircraft played their powerful roles.

In 1955 the People's Liberation Army attacked and occupied Yijiangshan Island, a small, vulnerable target related to the Dachens. On January 20, 1955, the PLA took nearby Yijiangshan Island, killing or wounding the entire ROC garrison of 720 troops defending the island The assault on Yijiangshan Island taxed China's amphibious capabilities to the limit. The amphibious operation was supported by Soviet-made Il-10 short-range attack planes, which made a favorable impression.

In the mid-1950s Americans developed their carrier-based attack aircraft A-4, and, afterwards, the A-6, A-7 and A-10 were successively developed. Based on the MiG-23 fighter the Soviet .Union derived a fighter-bomber MiG-27 whose main task was the ground attack. The Su-25 attack aircraft which was mainly used for attacking enemy's tanks was developed in the 1980s.

The Chinese attack aircraft were developed on the basis of the fighters. In a battle to liberate the Yijiangshan Island the Air Force, in cooperation with the Navy and the Army, used Soviet I1-10 attack aircraft and they played an important role. The aviation industry developed a supersonic attack aircraft Q-5 to meet the need of the rapidly growing people's Air Force soon after the successful manufacture of subsonic jet fighter. Its preliminary design certification was awarded in 1965, modifications were made in 1968 and it was put into serial production and began the delivery in 1970. A number of derivatives were developed and some were exported.

The development of the attack aircraft started later than that of the fighter, but it started with a Chinese design since its very beginning. Due to the urgent need of the Chinese Air Force the Shenyang Aircraft Design Department presented a preliminary concept of a supersonic attack aircraft in early 1958. In August of the same year Wang Xiping, director of the Aviation Industry Bureau, and Xu Changyu, vice director of the Bureau convened a technical meeting in Shenyang and decided that the development task of attack aircraft Q-5 should be undertaken by the Nanchang Aircraft Factory. The Nanchang Aircraft Factory immediately sent 10 people and more including Feng Xu, vice chief engineer, and Gao Zhenning, section director, to Shenyang to work on the design. of the general layout. Lu Xiaopeng, who was working at the Shenyang Aircraft Design Department at that time, was also named to join the design of the general layout. With the help from the Shenyang Aircraft Factory and the Shenyang Aircraft Design Department the construction of a full size mockup was completed and it was shipped to Beijing in October 1958. Chen Geng, vice chief of the General Staff heard a briefing on the design concept of the aircraft and approved its development.

Based on the Air Force's operational requirement, the visits to the operational troops and the status and trend of the foreign attack aircraft, the designers of the Nanchang Aircraft Factory believed that the main task of the attack aircraft was to support the operations of ground troops and in order to bring its combat effectiveness into full play the attack aircraft had to have good performance in low altitude, powerful armament and fire power, high flying speed and certain capabilities in dog fight and in self-defence, proper range and endurance, good takeoff and landing performance and proper armor in some critical areas.

The development and production practice of supersonic attack aircraft since the 1960s, a long period of time, was an important chapter in the history of the Chinese aviation industry. It provided beneficial experience, lessons and enlightenment to the further development of the aviation industry.




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