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FANTAN Variants - Q-5I/Q-5II/Q-5III/Q-5IV

  1. Q-5I increased the range of the original Q-5, thus increasing the operational capabilities of the aircraft. Because of its short range the operational application of the Q-5 aircraft was restricted. Gao Zhenning, director of the Design Institute of the Nanchang Aircraft Factory, proposed to develop an extended range Q-5 based on the requirement of military Services in 1976. In April 1977 the plan to enlarge the range by changing the aicraft's layout was started. Compared with the basic Q-5, the Q-5I had following main improvements: (1) The bomb bay was retrofitted into fuel tank bay, the main fuel tank was enlarged and a flexible fuel tank was added; (2) The fuselage carried stores were adjusted so that the bomb load was increased; (3) The engine was changed into the WP6AIII, a thrust augmentation turbojet, with a thrust of 36.8 kilo-Newton; (4) The landing gear was modified; (5) The drag chute bay was moved upward to reduce landing run distance; (6) The ejection seat was changed into Type I rocket ejection seat and the sea survival aids were added; and (7) A 50 watt short wave single sideband transceiver was added to meet the communication need for extended range flight.

    The finalization of the design of the Q-5I came on 03 December 1983. The test flight result indicated that this machine range and the combat radius increase, the landing run distance reduces 130 meters, the maximum level speed, the greatest climbing rate, the service ceiling improve. A fuel tank replaced the bomb bay of the aircraft. The pylons of the aircraft were also adjusted in order to increase the payload of the Q-5 to 2 tons. The Shenyang WP6A engine was an an improved variation of the WP6 that had more thrust, thus improving the performance of the Q-5, producing an afterburning thrust of 3,750 kg. Additional changes included a new landing gear system to accommodate for the increased weight of the aircraft, repositioning of the drag chute for a shorter landing, a new rocket ejection seat, sea survival equipment to improve the survivability of the pilot, and a 50W short wave single sideband transceiver for increased communication capabilities. The derivation tests were carried out in 1977. Five Q-51s were built and the flight test was carried out at the end of 1980. On October 20, 1981 the National Defence Industry Office of the State Council appointed Lu Xiaopeng chief designer for the Q-5 extended range version. The Aero Products Certification Committee formally approved the type design certification of the Q-5I.

  2. Q-5IA had several other improvements such as the installment of an omni-bearing warning and counter-measure equipment, new firing and gun-bomb sight system, use of pressure refuelling system, a tail warning device and chaff dispenser, electrical bomb release system which helped increase external storage, and external stores of rocket pods and a number of types of bombs. Its design was certificated in January 1985.

    Various tests were carried out in the development of the Q-5I and Q-5IA so that the derivation had solid basis. Some key technical problems existed on the basic Q-5 were solved, such as the jamming of bullets and link, and the significant measurement error of the pitot tube. The flight test carried out from August 1979 to October 1983 showed that all the flying performances were in conformity with the operational requirement. Compared with the basic Q-5, the derivatives had the following improvements: increases of 26 per cent in range and 35 per cent in combat radius at low altitude, reduction of 130 m in landing run distance and increase of 500 kg in bomb load. In addition the flying speed, service ceiling, rate of climb and controllability were also improved.

  3. Q-5II / A-5B made 4 major improvements in the Q5I foundation: the pressure filling system; the installment of a tail warning device; replacement of the bomb sight; and increased the external weapon and installed electric bomb releases. The operational performance was also enhanced. In the late 1970s, the Q-5 production was transformed to produce the Q-5II, and the output was gradually reduced. But North Korea obtained a big order for the Q-5II, or what the West calls the A-5B. This aircraft removed the internal weapon bay and installed a fixed fuel tank. The additional fixed fuel tankage gave the Q-5II a total internal fuel on board increase to 3720 liters. The fuel is distributed between three forward fuselage tanks and two aft body fuel tanks. Although the standard external weapons were still four 250 kilogram bombs, the biggest exterior load capacity might amount to 2000 kilograms. In this case, the biggest wing load increased from 341 kilograms/square meters to 429 kilograms/square meters, and the power loading increased from 14,950 kilogram/kilo Newton to 18,830 kilogram/kilo Newton.

  4. Q-5III / A-5C was aimed at Pakistan's export model airplane, also called the A-5C. Based on the Q-5I foundation, Pakistan made several specific requests for proposed improvements. The re-equipping content mainly has: Enlarges the range; provide attachments to carry Pakistan's missiles and bombs; a replacement advanced very high frequency transceiver, the identification friend or foe system, and so on, for a total of 32 items of equipment and cabin arrangement revisions. The zero-zero ejection seat is substituted for by MartinBaker company's PKD10, and increased some West instrumental equipment. And to have used AIM-9 in the machine flank store mounting point "the cobra" the air-to-air missile, substitutes for PL-2, PL-2B or the PL-7 missiles which China makes. But the improvements are very limited, its leaving the plant unit price lower than US$ 5,000,000.

    The Nanchang Aircraft Factory began trial production in April 1981 after the foreign purchase order was made. The Q-5III prototype production cycle, starting from signing of the contract in April 1981 and ending with the certification in January 1983, was only 1 year and 10 months. During this period of time the Nanchang Aircraft Factory released 3,949 pages modified drawings (12.4 per cent of total Q-5 drawings), carried out wind tunnel tests and resonance tests, built 570 special production tooling, constructed 3 prototype aircraft and made 101 hours and 37 minutes flight test in 130 takeoff-and-landings which showed all the performances were in conformity with the specified values. Three prototypes were produced 1982. On 07 September 1982 the Q-5III flew for the first time, and altogether to December flew 130 sorties, altogether 101 hours, to demonstrate performance standards. In January 1983 the Q-5III passed its technical appraisal, and in February, 1983, the Pakistani Air Force accepted its initial order of 42 Q-5III.

    Several dozens of Q-5 III were delivered to the customer from January 1983 to January 1984 so that the contract was fulfilled. In March 1983 the first batch were exported to the Pakistani Air Force, and the first batch of 12 Q-5s, became first kind of fighter airplane which the China had sold abroad which the Chinese had independently designed. These airplanes were deployed to form the Pakistani Air Force 16th Squadron, substituted for the 7th Squadron's B-57 tactical bomber, and re-equiped the 26th Squadron. At the beginning of 1985, the final 13 aircraft were delivered. The Pakistani Air Force had ordered by now a total of 98 Q-5III, equipping three squadrons, and as a supplement consumption reserve. In April, 2011, the Pakistani Air Force 26th Squadron started to be equipped with the JF-17 Fierce Dragon fighter aircraft, starting the Q-5III retirement, though there will be regular maintenance until the appropriate customer is found.

  5. Q-5IV / Q-5D incorporated a 28.8% change in comparison to the closest earlier version. Q-5III upgrade first appeared in the early 1990s. Two central computers like that of Q-5M and new RW-30 radar warning receivers were added. ALR-1 laser rangefinder and QHK-10 Head-Up Display developed by No. 613 Institute were added. In the 1980s upgrades of the Q-5 aircraft centered on the addition of French inertial guidance and attack systems, including a heads-up display and laser range-finder. As the Qiang-5 was fitted with laser-ranging sensors, its strike accuracy was greatly improved. The ALR-1 laser-ranging sensor and the heads-up laser-ranging fire control system, which consists of the new-type heads-up display and the air data computer, both have continuous computerized point-of-impact functions. The range of the ALR-1 laser-ranging sensor is 20-10,000 meters and its range precision is 5 meters. Its overall performance is roughly equivalent to that of the British 105D and the French TMV of the 1980s.

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