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The H-6 bomber is a medium-sized jet bomber developed and produced by China in the 1950s after imitating the Soviet Tu-16 bomber. The bomber is mainly used for tactical strategic bombing, reconnaissance, anti-ship, patrol surveillance and other tasks. . It is currently the only strategic bomber in active service of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force; it is also the smallest strategic bomber in active service in any country in the world; it is also one of the longest-serving aircraft of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force.

Until now, this aircraft is still the core of our military’s strategic bombing force. It has continuously improved its power, avionics and airborne weapons, and has developed a variety of special platforms based on it. It is expected to serve at least until 2020.

H-6 (Tu-16) The “Badger” medium bomber is a swept mid single wing; the wing rear fairing; two Mikulin RD-3M-500 turbojet engines; the air inlet is at the root ; The head is inlaid with glass.


Development History

After the signing of the Sino-Soviet Friendship Treaty in September 1957, the Soviet Union decided to assist China in building a medium-sized bomber manufacturing plant, and agreed to authorize the production of Tu-16 bombers. According to the agreement between the Soviet Union and China, the Soviet Union gave China two Tu-16A aircraft in the same year. As a prototype, one disassembly was researched, and the other was dismantled and analyzed by Xi’an Aircraft Factory to analyze the specifications of its production molds.

Then the Soviet side provided a Tu-16 complete machine part and a Tu-16 bulk part to be assembled and assembled by the Chinese side, and then various parts blanks and raw materials provided by the Soviet side were processed and manufactured by the Chinese side.

The Chinese side started the domestic self-made project from Harbin Aircraft Factory and Xi’an Aircraft Factory (Xifei). In 1959, the Soviet Union provided a full set of Tu-16 technical drawings and materials to China. The first plan assembled by Harbin Aircraft Factory in September 1959 -16 achieved its first flight. The model produced in China is called “H-6”.

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War between Iran and Iraq: The Saddam regime in Iraq introduced four H-6s from China and mounted C-601 anti-ship missiles. In the later period of the Iran-Iraq war, Iraq and Iran launched indiscriminate attacks on tankers in the Persian Gulf and the U.S. Navy convoy in an attempt to intercept each other’s crude oil output. Escorted by Phantom F1. At the time, Iraq was the only country in the Middle East with strategic bombers, including the Chinese-made H-6 and the Soviet-made Tu-16 and Tu-22.

Persian Gulf War: Although all of the H-6 used by Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war has survived in the early days of the war, all H-6 bombers parked in the airport by the Iraqi army were destroyed before the takeoff.


Model evolution

In 1964, Xifei developed the Tu-16 domestic model. Without Soviet technical guidance, all domestic materials and equipment were used, and some production processes and raw materials were improved. After the H-6A was equipped, according to the problems found during its use, Xifei began to improve the automatic pilot bombing system in 1970, and completed the test flight in the early 1980s and began to equip. In 1969, one of the H-6 was used to convert it into an unmanned target aircraft. It flew for the first time in 1970.

In 1972, Xifei launched the H-6A reconnaissance aircraft based on the H-6A. Three large reconnaissance cameras were installed in the bomb chamber of the aircraft. In order to meet the needs of long-range reconnaissance, navigation, communication, flight control, and automatic Pilots and other equipment. Due to the slow development of airborne equipment, the first flight was completed in 1978, and it was finalized and equipped in 1979. In 1980, two H-6B reconnaissance aircraft of the Chinese Navy Aviation Corps performed the first aerial reconnaissance mission to the Nansha Islands.


The development of the H-6C electronic jamming aircraft began in 1977. On the basis of the H-6A, active and passive jamming equipment, radar detection and countermeasure equipment were added, and radomes and knife antennas for various purposes were installed outside the fuselage and magazines. First flight in 1980 and commissioned in 1983.

In 1971, Xifei began to develop a strategic bomber carrying nuclear weapons, named the H-6I, and flew for the first time in March 1975. Replaced two turbojet-8 turbojet engines with four “Bass” RB163 MK512 turbofan engines from Rolls-Royce, UK, two of which were located in the original engine compartment at the root of the wing, and the other two were suspended The hanging method is installed outside the wing landing gear bay. The total thrust has increased, the cruise fuel consumption has been reduced by 25%, and the maximum range has been increased from 6,000 km to 8,000 km. The development of the H-6I was terminated in 1980 when the power unit could not be guaranteed.

At the end of 1967, the development of the H-6 as a missile attack aircraft officially began. The development was suspended in 1969 due to the influence of the “Cultural Revolution” movement. In 1975, the development of the H-6 missile attack aircraft was again proposed. Due to the difficulty in developing the air attack missile attack aircraft, Xifei turned to the H-6 missile development aircraft based on the Navy’s operational needs.

It flew for the first time in 1985 and began mass production in 1985, also known as “H-6D”. Four have been exported. An external pylon is added under the wing for the “Eagle Strike” -6 air-to-ship missile, as well as the matching 245 airborne radar and missile fire control device. There is an enlarged radar under the nose of the nose The structure of the hood was modified, and the self-defense artillery on the fuselage was cancelled.


In 1990, Xifei completed the conversion of the first H-6 aerial tanker, named “H-6”. On December 31, 1991, the HY-6 and J-8 fighters successfully docked for the first time. Began serving in 1995. The model of the aerial refueling machine equipped by the Chinese Navy aviation unit is modified by using the active bomber -6D. The large radome under the nose is retained, the belly magazine is converted into a fuel tank, and an aerial refueling crane is hung under each wing Cabin with plug cone type aerial refueling device.

The original tail protection cannon was cancelled, and the shooter cabin was changed to an aerial refueling control cabin. Spotlights are installed on both sides of the tail for nighttime refueling lighting. The model of the tanker equipped by the Chinese Air Force is newly manufactured. The biggest feature in appearance is the newly designed closed nose with a small radome instead of the transparent navigation cabin of the H-6 nose, with weather radar, and the pilot cabin. Updated necessary electronics.

Some later-produced models of the H-6A were modernized and implemented in the 1990s, focusing on improving avionics systems, installing new navigation systems, installing radar alert systems, and jamming systems, and eliminating self-defense aviation guns. Renamed “H-6F” after modification.

The H-6H is equipped with a ground-level radome. It is a model developed for the Chinese Air Force on the basis of the H-6D of the Chinese Navy ’s aviation equipment. It can carry air-to-ground missiles that can perform out-of-zone strikes. A ground-search is installed inside the radome under the nose The radar has low-altitude penetration capabilities. There is an external pylon under the wing for tactical air-to-ground missiles. The belly of the aircraft is equipped with a data transmission system. First flight in 1998, mass production in 1999.

A further improved version of the H-6H, there are two external hangers under each wing, and a small external hanger under the belly for small pods. All self-defense artillery was cancelled. Increase electronic suppression capabilities. Equipped with Chinese Air Force and Naval Aviation.

In 2007, photos of the new and improved prototype of H-6 were appeared on the Internet, with the name “God of War” 001 printed on the fuselage. The biggest feature is the new design of the nose with a large radome instead of the transparent navigation cockpit of the H-6 nose. The fuselage of the fuselage of the tail and fuselage is used to install electronic equipment and replace the tail boom control bay of the original H-6.

The newly modified design of the air intake of the engine has increased the amount of air intake. The Russian-made D30-KP-2 engine has been installed to increase the thrust. The internal magazine was changed to an oil magazine, so the range of the bomb was increased compared to the original H-6. There are three external hangers under each wing. The H-6K can carry at least six new air-based cruise missiles for long-range strike missions.


In 2017, a new and improved version of the H-6 that appeared on the Internet in China. The biggest feature of its appearance was the installation of an aerial fuel pipe. The aircraft model was called H-6N. Analysis by Chinese military observers suggests that the aircraft may perform two tasks: first, the aircraft may perform long-range missile attack missions, which may increase the combat radius of 3000 kilometers by refueling, and carry several AKD-20 airspace with a range of 1,500 kilometers Launch cruise missiles; on the other hand, some observers believe that the aircraft may be used as a launch platform to launch satellites or ballistic missiles. The H-6N legend says that it can carry Dongfeng-21D air-launched anti-ship ballistic missiles. On October 1, 2019, H-6N debuted at the parade for the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

On February 21, 2019, the latest improved version of the H-6 bomber series H-6J, a naval version of the H-6K, can be refueled in the air. After refueling, the combat radius is estimated to be over 4,000 kilometers. If you refuel twice, you can cruise in the depths of the western Pacific between the first and second island chains. The H-6J can carry the latest Eagle Strike-12, as well as the original Eagle Strike-83K, Eagle Strike-62, Eagle Strike-63 (AKD-63) and other large and medium-sized air-launched anti-ship missiles. Ship targets 500 km away launched an over-the-horizon attack.

Air-to-air Fueling Aircraft modified from H-6K

Iran-Iraq War

After serving in the military, Hong Liu had exported to two Middle Eastern countries: Egypt and Iraq. Both countries purchased from China during the 1970s and 1980s, and the total selling price is unknown.

During the Iran-Iraq war, Iraq introduced four bombers capable of carrying C-601 airship missiles (air-hawks based on the Seahawk II), and launched a ship-to-ship war in the late 1984 Iran-Iraq war. Launch an indiscriminate attack on oil tankers in the Persian Gulf, hoping to cut off the output of opponents’ crude oil to weaken the enemy’s supply of war resources; of course, not only oil tankers, but even records of attacks against the escort US Navy. The Iraqi bomber Liuding was escorted by the Phantom F1 to carry out sea strike missions, but the results were unknown and there was no record of war damage.

Persian Gulf War

Although there was no loss of the bomber purchased by Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war, in this war, the allied air offensive directly destroyed the bomber at the airport, so there was no record of war.


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H-6 in the 21st century

The Ministry of Defense ’s Unified Staff Supervision Department (equivalent to the General Staff) released a message on August 8, 2013 that the two H-6 bombers of the Chinese military flew over the waters between the main island of Okinawa and Miyako Island that morning , Flying back and forth between the East China Sea and the Pacific Ocean. This is the first time that the Japanese Ministry of Defense has confirmed and announced that Chinese military bombers have passed over the islands in the southwest.

When the Chinese H-6 bomber flew over the southwestern islands, the Japanese Air Self-Defense Forces fighter planes emergency launched to respond, but the airspace was not Japanese airspace. According to the Japanese Ministry of Defense, the two bombers traveled the same path over the high seas around Okinawa’s main island and Miyakojima, and then flew back to mainland China.

The H-6M shot by the unified staff supervision department flew over the Miyako Strait

At the end of March 2015, the newly upgraded H-6K has been installed in mass production large-scale formations, and for the first time flew out of the first island chain along the bus strait to conduct strategic attack training in a large formation posture. Becoming another new aircraft, the belly bomb bay has been converted into a large fuel tank to extend its range, and the weapon has been replaced with long sword series cruise missiles with a range of thousands of kilometers under the wings, becoming an off-zone attack aircraft and an escape system. Both the avionics system and the avionics system have been completely renewed. The news screen shows that it has been converted to a vitrified cockpit with a large number of LCD screens as the operating interface.



Pilot: 6 (Boom-6K: 4)
Length: 34.8 m (114 ft 2 in)
Wingspan: 33.0 m (108 ft 3 in)
Height: 10.36 m (34 ft 0 in)
Wing area: 165 m² (1,775 ft²)

Empty weight: 37,200 kg (82,000 lb)
Takeoff weight: 76,000 kg (174,000 lb)
Engine: 2 x turbojet 8 turbojet engines, 93.2 kN (20,900 lbf)


Maximum speed: 1,050 km / h (567 knots, 656 mph)
Cruising speed: Mach 0.75 (768 km / h, 477 mph)
Fighting radius: 1,800 km (970 nm, 1,100 mi)
Range: 6,000 km (3,200 nm, 3,700 mi)
Practical ceiling: 12,800 m (42,000 ft)
Wing load: 460 kg / m² (94 lb / ft²)
Power-to-weight ratio: 0.24


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Emergency Escape system

The early H-6 inherited most of the design of the Tu-16, including the escape system. In addition to the conventional parachute through the personnel to enter and exit the cabin, it was equipped with a catapult chair for each occupant; 6 Tu-16 crew members, 2 Driving is ejecting upwards, and four crew members are ejecting downwards. It is exactly the same as the layout of bombers such as B-52 ejection chairs (4 up and 2 down) of various countries in the 1960s, which originated from the occupants such as B-17 and B-29.

During a high-altitude damaged rollover, it is difficult to get out of the seat, find the entry and exit hatch, and then parachute, so that each occupant has the opportunity to escape without leaving the seat; therefore, there is a downward ejection exit, which is intended to be able to slide out without using the ejection rocket by gravity. This ejection system is not suitable for use at low altitude, especially at double zero (zero speed, zero altitude).

At the same time, because there were many members of the bomber crew at the time, and they were in the same pressurized compartment except the gunners, once the ejection process was started, it would irreversibly damage the tightness of the compartment and affect all occupants, so there were strict steps to adopt ejection escape.

Requirement: Before ejection, the aircraft must follow the technical instructions to make the speed lower than 620 kilometers per hour and a certain height to reduce the impact caused by the door opening, and then implement 6-8 irreversible manual ejection preparation steps, first the crew The cabin is decompressed and then executed in accordance with the escape sequence of a specific crew member, otherwise airflow interference problems will occur and the remaining crew members cannot escape.

The successful implementation of this early ejection design can only rely on the unified command issued by the in-flight communication system used by the pilot. When considering that the accident occurred at a low altitude, the crew may be injured or panic. How to implement it as mechanically as humanly? The full set of escape steps is almost like a nightmare; it even happened on a B-1B of 6 people in 1987, but at the time 2 B-1 pilots and deputies had separate cockpits, and 4 weapon operators were at the same time.

One cabin, at a height of 1,000 meters, two people successfully ejected and two were killed; during the same period, the British Vulcan bomber had a design, two front and two pilots, and a separate cockpit equipped with upward ejection seats. The rear was called a “pit” The four weapon operators inside share a single ejection door, and the four ejection chairs turn to the ejection door in the manner of a revolver.

Later, because the structure was too complicated, the ejection seat in the “pit” was canceled. The four weapon operators still used the traditional method of leaving the seat to jump from the lower door, which was accused, but the military claimed that the Vulcan-type accident rate was low. No need to equip weapon operators with ejection seats. For the original design of the Tu-16, when launching at high altitude, there are several minutes to perform a complete set of escape steps as mechanically as human.

The bomber is different from the fighter. The bomber cabin is relatively spacious, and the personnel can move away from the seat. Within the range, parachuting through the passenger door is always a common option for bombers and transport aircraft, which can keep some occupants ahead of the parachute while keeping the cabin intact.


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Ejection system

The modern bomber ejection system is designed to reduce low-altitude ejection by reducing the occupants and separating personnel by electrical cabinets or equipment compartments. For example, the B-2 uses a two-seater cockpit, the B-1B and Tu-22M use four people to completely separate the two cabins, the Tu-160 uses four people to partially separate the two cabins, and the B-52H / G is still using the upper and lower two-story sections of six people. Separate 3 compartments, lower compartment ejection unchanged.

The redesigned H-6K was divided into 3 compartments for 3 people, and there was only 1 remaining weapon operation cabin for 4 people; each had their own double zero ejection chair and escape hatch; all crew members ejected upwards, ejected It can be performed at 0 to 850 km / h, and the upper limit is 30% higher than Tu-16.

According to the PLA’s current public records, there were 8 accidents in H-6 during 1969-1995, about half of which took place during the takeoff and landing of the airport; a total of 41 crew members died, one case was successfully escaped, and only two escaped persons were pilots. Crew and correspondent ejected downwards to escape, and the other right co-pilot successfully ejected upwards, but was unfortunately marred by hitting the ground house during the parachute landing.

The newly-reconstructed H-6K used a new type of escape device after 2014, abandoning the last century. Russian-made system, but detailed specifications were not leaked to the outside world.