Sunday, July 4, 2010

DTN News: Chinese Navy Air Force - Maintain Strong Impact With 400 Combat Aircraft Mostly Vintage

Defense News: DTN News: Chinese Navy Air Force - Maintain Strong Impact With 400 Combat Aircraft Mostly Vintage
* Roger Smith - DTN News has added contents and images in this article from reliable sources besides Strategy Page
Source: Strategy Page
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - July 4, 2010: The Chinese Navy has its own air force, with over 400 combat aircraft. Most of these are elderly, but still dangerous under the right conditions. These aircraft operate from 24 air bases along the 18,000 kilometer long coastline.
There are about 120 H-6s, a Chinese built Russian Tu-16. Although the Tu-16 design is over fifty years old, China has continued to rely on their H-6s as one of their principal bombers. The H-6 is a 78 ton bomber with a crew of four, a 6,000 kilometer range. It can carry nine tons of bombs and missiles.There are about 45 J-7s, a Chinese built copy of the MiG-21. Many are being equipped with Western (or Western class) electronics and engines. This makes it a considerably improved MiG-21. Can carry 1.5 tons of bombs.
There are about 60 J-8s, a Chinese two engine variant of the MiG-21. China's first attempt at building their own aircraft. But it was not a very original or successful effort. Can carry about three tons of bombs and is mainly used by the navy.
There are nearly a hundred JH-7s. These are Chinese designed and built fighter-bombers that entered service in the 1990s. They were meant to replace the retired H-5s (Russian Il-28 copies).
There are 24 Su-30s (a Russian design) and at least two J-15s (a Chinese copy of the Russian Su-27s modified to operate from carriers). The navy would like to replace all its J-7s and J-8s with Su-30s, but that won't happen. Meanwhile, the navy is being provided with J-11s. In the last few months, satellite photos have shown J-11 jet fighters at naval air bases. These are illegal Chinese copies of the Russian Su-27. These are cheaper than Su-30s, and are built entirely of Chinese parts.
The remaining aircraft are helicopters, trainers and transports.
The navy has long had a reputation as a ramshackle outfit, with old (and often rejected by the air force) aircraft, poor training and indifferent leadership. There have been considerable efforts to change all that, but progress is slow.
The origins of the H-6 can be traced back to 1956, when the Soviet Union agreed that it would help China to build a medium bomber force. The idea behind this was that the USSR would command a combined USSR-PRC nuclear force, something which later proved unacceptable for the Chinese. A license agreement for Tu-16 bombers was signed in 1957, and two years later the first parts for assembly in Harbin arrived from the Soviets. Apart from these, two Soviet-built Tu-16s were flown in to serve as pattern aircraft. The first H-6 built from Soviet parts flew only 67 days after manufacture started, on September 27th 1959. After factory acceptance trials, this aircraft went to the PLAAF just like a second prototype built with Soviet parts. One of these was later modified as a nuclear bomber with an airconditioned bombbay and special bomb mountings. A nuclear bomb was dropped by this aircraft at the Lop Nor test site on May 14, 1965.
Production got seriously delayed when the CCP decided that H-6 production should be concentrated at Xi'an, while Harbin would start working on a reverse-engineered Il-28 under the designation H-5 because the plant at Harbin already had a major Il-28 rework facility. Moving H-6 production to Xi'an however ment that some 3000 engineers had to be moved, as well as the already delivered documents and tools. This entire program lasted until 1964, by which time it was realised that a large part of the necessary technical documentation was missing. The PRC was quick to blame this on the Soviets with which relations had seriously deteriorated by then. It is nevertheless equally possible that the relocation of the H-6 production caused the loss of these documents.
To retrieve this data, the existing H-6es built with Soviet parts, together with the two Tu-16s were taken apart and studied with the intention to reverse-engineer them. Over ten years after the first flight of a Badger built in the PRC, a prototype of the H-6 built with only Chinese parts took to the air. To distinguish this from the origian two Harbin-built H-6es, these got the designation H-6A. Deliveries of aircraft built to this standard were delivered to operational PLAAF and PLAN units from 1970 on. It is not known if all of these are equipped with the airconditioned bombbay and other nuclear modifications, although some sources suggest that these are officially referred to as H-6II.
*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News, contact:
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