UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


Chinese Bomber Aircraft - Hongzhaji


Maritime Bomber JL-600
Qing-6 Be-6

Bombers are aircraft used to bomb forward areas, strategic rear areas and targets at sea. According to their weights, bomb loads and ranges, they can be divided into light bombers (or short range bombers), medium bombers (or medium range bombers) and heavy bombers (or long range bombers). They can also be divided into strategic bombers and tactical bombers according to their operational missions.

The bombers were first used in the First World War. Most of them were retrofitted from reconnaissance aircraft and could carry a small amount of bomb loads. The bombers were widely used during the World War II. The four-engine heavy bombers also appeared at that time. The high subsonic jet bombers were developed in 1950s and the supersonic medium range strategic bombers in 1960s . During 1970s the USA and the Soviet Union developed strategic bombers with speed higher than Mach number 2. These supersonic strategic bombers could penetrate into enemy's territorial air in supersonic speed at high altitude or in high subsonic speed at very low altitude.

A policy of active defence was adopted by China in its national air defence so that the light bombers and medium bombers have also been developed while the stress of the aircraft development was placed on the fighters.

After 1950s the Chinese aviation industry planned to develop the bombers step by step. Two enterprises for development and production of bombers (also transports and helicopters) and two design institutes for design of land based and water based bombers were respectively established and the corresponding infrastructure was constructed. The H-5 light bomber and the H-6 medium bomber with its derivatives were produced and the water-based SH-5 was developed on our own. Through all these activities a technical team of bomber development was tempered and a moderate production capacity formed. China had then basically the ability to develop light and medium bombers.

When the trial production of H-5 started in the Harbin Aircraft Factory in 1963, the only technical documentation available was the document of old and incomplete design drawings for overhauling 11-28 aircraft provided by the Soviet Union. The factory carried out repeated tests and computations on aircraft strength and aerodynamic performance; test flight was carried out by Air Force aircraft and gained plenty of data. 13,637 pieces of improvement and supplementary drawings, 40% of the total, for the complete aircraft were created; major modifications were carried out on aircraft wing structure, tail section structure, front cover and feeding guide rail; WP5A engine was used instead of WP5; more than 60 types of domestically supplied products like turret etc. were fitted on the aircraft. All these helped improve the workability and tactical performance of this type of aircraft. During the manufacture, all process documents were prepared by the factory and more than ten thousand sets of tools and fixtures were designed and manufactured. After three years hard work, this aircraft was successfully trial produced at last in 1967 and the stable batch production followed soon.

Development of other aircraft such as H-6 was carried out almost at the same time of that of H-5 bomber. That was the first time for China to manufacture medium range jet bomber with 75 tons take-off weight. The Number of parts, the complexity of structure, and the technical difficulty and engineering work of this aircraft all exceeded that of any other previous aircraft. When it was trial produced in 1964, the factory only had the incomplete Soviet Tu-16 aircraft technical documents. Xi'an Aircraft and Engine factories fully relied on their own efforts to make up strength calculation documents and their design documents were more than 15,400 pieces; they successfully modified its fuselage, vertical tail, nose landing gear and fuel drain system and prepared all process sheets by themselves. During installation of assembly jigs, new technology of optical telescope and micrometer rods were first used to overcome matching and coordination difficulty of large aircraft trial production and successfully broke through the thermal and cold manufacturing difficulties of large wing sliding rail, aluminium alloy beam, main landing gear and armor plate etc.. High risk and more difficult test like fuel dump at high altitude was also conducted during trial production.

In the process of aircraft trial production, the Special Commission of the Central Committee issued an order to modify an original type of H-6 for the mission of transporting and delivering atomic bomb, which should be arranged simultaneously with the trial production of H-6 and, materials and equipment needed were to be produced in China as an urgent task. The modified H-6 aircraft successfully fulfilled the mission of delivering atomic bomb test first ever in China on May 14, 1965, which won telegrams from the CCCPC and the State Council. Premier Zhou Enlai met and dined in the Great Hall of the People with the persons and representatives of relevant organizations who had rendered great service, including representatives of the Ministry of Aviation Industry and Xi'an Aircraft Factory.

Successful development of H-5 and H-6 bomber aircraft indicated that in the field of aircraft design and manufacture, China's aviation science and technology had entered into a new stage - a big step towards independent aircraft design and development; Chinese aviation scientific and technical people not only concentrated on learning and simulating but also had capability of understanding, appraising and improving, which was undoubtedly a kind of practical effective exercise for future independent development.

After the decommissioning of Hong Xian-5 bombers (Chinese copy of the famous Soviet IL-28), the only representative of the Air Force bombers remaining was the Xian Hong-6 medium bomber. Aircraft production H-6 terminated on the grounds that they were not able to overcome a modern air defense and is guaranteed to deliver the bomb targets. Some Hong-6 bomber planes were modified in favor of its use as a tanker.

Hong-6 K-6 and M missile modifications are intended to fulfill two main objectives, namely: for nuclear strikes against strategic targets which are within the theater of operations; and for the destruction of the U.S. Navy on the distant approaches to the waters of Taiwan. It is planned that they will strike groups numbering from the squadron to a regiment. Their actions may be provided AWACs aircraft and cover-jammers. Launches of cruise missiles will be conducted out of range of antiaircraft and enemy fighter aircraft.

By the end of 2013, the Air Force consisted of about Hong-6 recent modifications. In parallel with the modernization and development of Hong-6, Chinese experts conduct intensive research and development to create a new generation of strategic bombers H-8 and h-10. According to U.S. sources in the construction of both bombers, there are many elements borrowed from the US aircraft B-2 Spirit and F-117. This is due, in particular, the fact that Chinese designers have copied some of the developments in the field of American stealth technology Stealth, thanks to Chinese intelligence, notably design documentation for the B-2, as well as the study of fragments of the F -117 stealth fighter that Yugoslav air defense downed, which were subsequently transferred to China.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list

Page last modified: 09-02-2017 19:28:53 ZULU