UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


J-6 (Jian-6 Fighter aircraft 6) / F-6
Type-59 / DF-102 / DF-103 / DF-105

The F-6 (Jianjiji-6 Fighter aircraft 6) is the Chinese version of the MiG-19, which was still in production in China in the mid-1990s. The J-6, which began flight tests in 1958, was China's first supersonic jet fighter. The Shenyang J-6 MiG-19PF and MiG-19SF were also known as Type-59 and later called Dong Feng 102 (DF-102). This initial Dong Feng fighter was followed by two other East Wind fighters based on the MiG-19: A MiG-19PF derivative with a limited all-weather capability was called Dong Feng 103 but also known as Type 59A and the MiG-19PM all weather version, built by Nanchang, initially designated Dong Feng 105 or otherwise Type 59B.

The J-6 is the first supersonic fighter developed by our country. A total of 5,200 fighters have been produced, and they have made great achievements in homeland air defense operations. Regardless of the appearance of the J-6 fighter jets, it looks very simple. When the J-6 was manufactured back then, there were many difficulties. It took our country 20 years to completely get the J-6 fighter jets.

In September 1959, China's first J-6 fighter flew for the first time, starting a long and great service career in the vast sky of the motherland. This fighter has a thrust-to-weight ratio of 0.86, and the mid-to-late modified version of the entire aircraft has a thrust-to-weight ratio of 0.988. Therefore, it has an extraordinary climb rate and can climb to a height of 10,000 meters in 1 minute and 06 seconds. It will be at the same time with a nearly 4 times advantage. The emergence of the American F-100 is far behind. This is the first time in history that the main fighter of the Eastern camp has completely surpassed its Western rival in performance (the next and final time is the Su-27 surpassing the F-15).

Relying on the acceleration and maneuverability created by the thrust-to-weight ratio that surpassed the times, and the excellent hovering ability conferred by the aerodynamic shape, this first-generation transonic fighter, which was only a transitional model in the Soviet Union, became a guard in China. The main fighter in the airspace of the motherland to seize mid- and low-altitude air superiority.

Beginning in March 1958, the China Aviation Industry Factory coordinated efforts to conduct trial production of the J-6 aircraft. The "Great Leap Forward" boom started in 1958 across the country. "A day is equal to 20 years" and "Fifteen years to catch up with the old Britain" became the mainstream thought at that time. China's aviation industry has also begun the trial production of imitation of supersonic fighter jets during the years of "burning passion." However, the trial production process was not all smooth sailing. The more serious problem was that the "Great Leap Forward" craze dazzled people's minds, and the production plan was not well-sighted. The goal is the "achievement" of "how fast and better the province", but the "bitter fruit" of "three years of production in one year" is actually harvested. At this stage, the J-6 trial production process is miserable.

The MiG-19P fighter that was introduced that year was not originally named the J-6. Instead, it was named the Dongfeng-103 fighter according to Chairman Mao’s argument that “the east wind overwhelms the west wind”. Although the Dongfeng-103 fighter was assembled with components provided by the Soviet Union in December 1958 and successfully tested, it did not have the conditions for mass production due to many objective reasons. In particular, there were no technical procedures for the introduction of aircraft at that time, and Soviet experts in the factory had also urged the introduction of technical procedures as soon as possible. However, inspired by the high-spirited "Great Leap Forward" spirit at the time, Chinese scientific and technical personnel believed that there was no procedure to write by themselves, which led to many problems after mass production.

The development and production of aircraft must have a stable environment and must be carried out in an orderly manner in accordance with scientific laws. In the early development and production process of the J-6 aircraft, we encountered many bottlenecks due to overconfidence and blindness, and we also experienced many quality rectifications. "Science must not be false" - this famous saying was fully confirmed in the trial production process of the J-6. After the enthusiasm of the Great Leap Forward, the Air Force has been able to calmly view the gap between the level of the domestic aviation industry and the air force's equipment requirements.

In the 1970s, the Chinese Air Force was equipped with approximately 3,000 F-6 fighters. There were more than 180 accidents of aerial parking each year, causing multiple first-class accidents. Air Force J-6 fighters have been grounded several times. In September 1974, the Air Force grounded more than 60% of the J-6 fighters, which even severely jeopardized the air defense mission of the capital, Beijing, and had to urgently deploy fighters from the southwest to Yangcun Airport. It was not until the late 1970s and early 1980s that the manufacturing quality of the J-6 had a fundamental change. By 1980, the fourth batch of improved models (the last batch of improved models), the J-6 completely entered the mature stage of quality, with exquisite product craftsmanship. With excellent quality and reliable performance, it began to gain praise from users at home and abroad. At this time, 20 years had passed since the first batch production of the J-6 in 1960.

The deep modernization of J-6 attack aircraft became the Q-5 (A -5) with side air intakes and a new forward fuselage, modified wings and tail. The range of weapons significantly expanded by weapons class "air-surface". Work on the Q-5 began in 1958, but was repeatedly stopped and then resumed. The first flight of the prototype was made in June 1965, the first production aircraft arrived in combat units in 1970. The Q-5 was repeatedly upgraded. Under the designation A-5 the aircraft was exported to Pakistan, North Korea and Bangladesh.

As the MiG-19 had multiple air explosion accidents in the early days of service, many pilots were killed in succession. Therefore, among the frontline aviation and the Homeland Defense Air Force, the aircraft quickly won a nickname-"Widowmaker". Because these explosions came very suddenly, the pilots often died before notifying the ground what happened. The cause of the accident cannot be found for a long time. Finally, it was discovered that two AM-5B engines installed side by side were constantly heating the fuselage fuel tank installed under the engine, which caused it to explode. Subsequently, Mi Zhizhi solved this problem by using a heat-insulating metal plate between the fuel tank and the engine.

The loss of several other MiG-19s was caused by the pilot’s operational errors. Compared with the MiG-15 and the MiG-17, the MiG-19 requires a high level of pilot performance. Driving skills, especially when flying at supersonic speeds, make airplanes extremely difficult to maneuver. Although the Soviets knew that the MiG-19 had this defect, they still began mass production and equipped with the Soviet Air Force. The direct consequence of this was the cost of the lives of many Soviet pilots.

Although there were many problems, it is undeniable that as a fighter of that era, the MiG-19 had an extraordinary rate of climb. The MiG-19 can climb to an altitude of 10,000 meters in 1 minute and 06 seconds. It only takes 3 minutes and 30 seconds to climb to 15,000 meters. Its ceiling is 17,500 meters. At an altitude of 10,000 meters, the speed can reach 1,451 km/h. The excellent climb rate of the MiG-19 lags far behind the Western fighters that appeared in the same era. For example, the most direct opponent of the MiG-19, the F-100 "Super Sabre" fighter, takes nearly 4 minutes to climb to an altitude of 10,500 meters. The MiG-19 exceeds its maximum speed, rate of climb, and ceiling in terms of F-100 fighters that have been in service four months later, and the F-100 is about 73% heavier than the MiG-19. This is the first time in history that the main fighter jet of the Soviet Union has completely surpassed its American opponent in performance.

The quality problem of the F-6 did not begin with the Cultural Revolution, but it began to appear as early as 1958 to 1960, when a large number of aircraft were returned to the factory for repair. According to the official explanation, the main reason for this large-scale quality problem is the weak foundation of China's aviation industry; at the same time, it is directly related to the huge technological disruption caused by the withdrawal of Soviet experts. There is obviously a shameless motive to deliberately divide a long-standing issue into a political time period. When China did not have the ability to develop its own supersonic fighter jets at the time, the decision to introduce Soviet MiG-19 fighter jet production technology was completely correct. This was conducive to mass production of supersonic fighter jets urgently needed by the Chinese Air Force in a relatively short period of time, to defend the airspace and territorial waters, and to improve China's aviation industry system in a relatively short period of time, and promote the development of China's aviation industry and defense industry, and even Chinese industry.

After several setbacks, when the second-generation supersonic fighter jets of the world's aviation powers had been in service in large numbers, China's aviation industry was still hovering on the threshold of supersonic speed. Only by relying on the batch of MiG-19 imported at the time, the PLA Air Force had entered the ranks of supersonic flight. The precious time gained through various open and behind-the-scenes transactions was wasted in the frenzy of the Great Leap Forward.

The overall development of the level laid the material and technical foundation for the independent development of aircraft. Experience proved that in the process of imitating the MiG-19 aircraft, the design and research institutes of aircraft, engines, and air-to-air missiles have begun to be established in China, and the construction of supersonic wind tunnels and a number of auxiliary aircraft factories began. Therefore, the rapid development of China's aviation industry during the take-off and landing of the Second Five-Year Plan was inseparable from the introduction of a complete set of advanced technology from the Soviet Union and the strong assistance of the Soviet Union. The serial production of J-6 / F-6 lasted until 1986, altogether there were built more than 4,000 aircraft J-6 of all modifications, no including the Q-5.

By 2010 two-thirds of the roughly 1,600 fighter aircraft operated by China’s air forces were still based on the MiG-19 and MiG-21, and less than a quarter of China’s fighter force consisted of fourth-generation aircraft. Many of China’s aircraft were still not capable of carrying BVR missiles or PGMs, and none were stealthy.

In August 2006, the J-6 reorganization system withdrew from the ranks of the PLA Air Force combat troops; in June 2010, the reorganization system withdrew from the training force sequence (does not rule out that there are still a small number of J-6s used for coaching, observation, reconnaissance and other purposes. service). The veteran flew away, leaving only the roar of the engine. Only this topic is dedicated to this great aircraft that has been in service for nearly half a century. Its derivative attack type Q-5 was still in service with the Chinese Air Force.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list

Page last modified: 01-08-2021 14:07:57 ZULU