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PS-5 / SH-5 - Shuishang Hongzhaji (Maritime Bomber)

The SH-5 (Shuishang Hongzha-5, or ShuiHong-5) is the amphibious aircraft developed by Harbin Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation (HAMC) in the 1980s. As its designation implies, the aircraft was originally intended for anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare, but lack of suitable weapons resulted in only four examples being built for maritime patrol and surveillance role.

In early 1970, after several years of consideration of various preliminary designs, the Harbin Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation (HAMC) and the Chinese Seaplane Design Institute began formal work on a four-turboprop flying boat that could be used for maritime warfare, SAR, and cargo transport roles. The aircraft was to be designated the "Maritime Bomber 5 (Shuishang Hongzhaji 5 / SH-5)". The prototype was completed in December of 1973, but did not fly until April of 1976. After a decade of further development, the aircraft finally entered service in September of 1986.

The PS-5 [SH-5] flying boat was completely developed by China and can be used in anti-submarine, surface attack, marine patrol and reconnaissance, marine rescue, and marine transport roles. With slight modifications it can also be used to fight forest and urban fires. PS designates a patrol/anti-submarine aircraft; "SH" is used for the marine bomber version.

The SH-5 has a very general resemblance to the PS-1 / US-1, with a long, relatively slender, fuselage and hull, a high wing with four turboprops, and a fixed float near each wingtip. However, in detail it shows clear influence of Soviet Beriev flying boat designs, with a twin-fin tail and very similar nose layout. The SH-5 is powered by four Dongan WJ5A turboprop engines with 3,150 horsepower each, driving four-bladed propellers. The aircraft is a pure seaplane, though it does have built-in beaching gear roughly similar to that of the PS-1. There are spray-suppression strakes on each side of the nose, and a small sea rudder at the rear of the hull.

The SH-5 is armed with a dorsal turret mounting twin cannon, and there are two stores pylons on each wing, one placed between the hull and the inboard engine, the second placed between the inboard and outboard engines. These four stores pylons can each be fitted with a C-101 antishipping missile, or each of the outer stores pylons can be fitted with three homing torpedoes.

The water-based aircraft, especially the ones which can be used in anti-submarine warfare, are needed in China to defend its vast territorial waters. In the late 1960s there were only several Soviet Be-6 water-based aircraft which were going to be phased out. Therefore to develop Chinese own water-based aircraft was an urgent task to the Chinese aviation industry.

The SH-5 was a first generation large water-based anti-submarine bomber developed by China itself. It was powered by 4 WJ5A turbo-propellers and was equipped with advanced navigation aids, bombing radar, magnetic anomaly detector, transceiver, etc. The empty weight was 26,000 kg. The bombs, torpedoes and airborne depth charges could be carried. A remotely controlled turret was incorporated to counter the attacks from enemy aircraft. The SH-5 could attack both surface warships and underwater submarines. In addition it could also be used for tasks such as search and rescue, scientific research and patrol, etc.

In the 1960, the PLA Navy demanded an indigenous amphibious plane to replace its ageing Soviet Beriev Be-6 (NATO reporting name: Madge) amphibious plane. The development task was assigned to the Harbin Aircraft Factory (now HAMC) in 1968, and the first prototype was completed in 1971. The floating test of the SH-5 was carried out in 1971 and the aircraft was first airborne on 3 April 1976. However, the operational deployment with the PLA Navy did not begin until 1986 due to the political and technical reasons.

The SH-5 was developed based on a large number of existing technologies. The aircraft has an unpressurised cabin and four underpowered turboprop engines, making it only suitable for low- to medium-altitude flight. Although this weakness does not cause major problems for the aircraft's low-altitude patrol flight profile, it does mean that transit flights between base and any distant operational area have to be flown at comparatively low altitude and therefore reduced speed.

The four-engine SH-5 mimics certain features of the Russian Be-12 (NATO codename: Mail) and the Japanese Shin Meiwa US-1A. The aircraft is of all-metal construction with a single-step hull, a high-set wing, a high-set dihedralled taiplane with endplate vertical surfaces, and retractable tricycle landing gear with single-wheel main units and a twin-wheel nose unit. The wing has a flat, constant-chord centre section that includes the inner two engines, and then increasing anhedral on the two tapered outer panels on each side.

The aircraft is equipped with basic radio communication and navigation equipment, plus (offensive sensors) Doppler search radar with its antenna in a nose 'thimble', MAD in a tail 'sting' and sonobuoys in a rear-fuselage dispenser, and (cabin displays) acoustic data processing system and tactical display system, and (navigation) INS.

The aircraft has two Type 23-1 23mm cannons in a dorsal turret. Up to 6,000kg of disposable stores can be carried in a rear-fuselage weapon bay rated at 6,000kg and on four hardpoints (all under the wings). The weapon bay carries mines, depth charges or bombs, while the underwing hardpoints are used for two YJ-1 (C-101) anti-ship missiles on the inner units and up to six lightweight homing torpedoes, depth charges or other disposable weapons on the outer units.

The SH-5 is powered by four DongAn (DEMC) Wojiang-5A1 turboprop engines, each rated at 3,150ehp. Internal fuel capacity is 13,417kg, with no external fuel tanks available.

The SH-5 was originally scheduled to carrying the YJ-1 (C-101) supersonic ramjet-powered anti-ship missile for surface strike role. However, the development of the YJ-1 had encountered serious technical problems and the project was eventually given up in the late 1980s. As a result, the SH-5 only carries unguided bombs for strike mission, putting the value of the aircraft highly questionable. The PLA Navy was apparently unsatisfied with the aircrafts performance and the production was stopped after only four examples were delivered.

At least one SH-5 has received special modifications for fire fighting role, enabling it to carry 8 tonnes water in its fuselage. After the fire in Xing'anling, the modification of the water bomber-5 fire extinguisher began. In June 1987, the first fire-fighting test was carried out in the vicinity of Harbin. The water bomber-5 first glided at a speed of 100 kilometers per hour on the surface of the reservoir, and filled the aircraft tank with a capacity of 8 tons in just a few seconds. The aircraft then accelerated to taxi 500 meters and then lifted off the water. After arriving at the water-injection site, the aircraft lowered the flaps, slowed down, and then opened the water tank door. The 8 tons of water was leaked and the water injection test was completed. A corresponding water absorption and water discharge device has been added to the machine, such as a water release button at the bombing sighting device. The water tank has a manual operation emergency system. The fire extinguishing type has the combat capability of the previous model.

Compared with some foreign water firefighting aircrafts, China's SH-5 firefighting aircraft is superior to Japan's US-l amphibious firefighting aircraft in terms of main performance. It is larger than Canada's CL-215 and CL-4I5 amphibious fire in terms of size and take-off weight. aircraft.



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