J-6 Fighter

Designated Jianjiji-6 Bing or Shenyang J-6 fighter C (J-6C), the air­craft entered flight test on 6th August 1969; the prototype was probably white overall and serialled ‘112 Red’. The J-6 fighter C was built in quan­tity, equipping more than 40 PLAAF and Naval Air Arm (PLANAF) units. The export designa­tion was F-6C; judging by the construction numbers of some Pakistani aircraft, the in- house product code at Shenyang was 55-.

Like the original Shenyang J-6, most J-6Cs were armed with three Type 23-2 cannons. Some aircraft, however, had Type 30-1 cannons with large muzzle brakes; moreover, Egyptian F-6Cs fitted with the heavy cannons featured non­standard trapezoidal blast panels.

Pakistani F-6s and F-6Cs were upgraded after delivery, including the integration of AIM-9B/L Sidewinder AAMs, Western avionics and the fitment of Martin-Baker PKD10 (Mk. 10L) zero-zero ejection seats. The standard Chinese ejection seats developed from the Soviet KK-1 could not be used safely below 260 m (853 ft) and 350 km/h (188 kts).

The designation J-6 fighter I lias been quoted as a parallel designation of the J-6A, but this is now known to be incorrect. The real J-6 I was probably the result of an attempt to improve the performance of the basic J-6. The fuselage ahead of the cockpit was redesigned, being slightly ‘fatter’ (rather in the manner of the MiG-19P/PM), and a small non-adjustable shock cone was added to the intake splitter plate, rather in the nature of the tracking antenna radome on the MiG-19P/PM. This was purely an aerodynamic improvement, not housing any form of radar. The aircraft was armed with two Type 23-2 wing cannons and one Type 30-1 cannon in the nose.

Apparently the modified intake was not working as it should, and the aircraft became a stepping stone in the development of the J-6 fighter II. The J-6 I prototype (uniden­tifiable as the serial has been obliterated) was relegated to the PLAAF Museum in Datangshan. Originally stored with a damaged lower intake lip and a short shock cone (prob­ably non-authentic and hastily replaced after being struck by a vehicle), it was later repaired as ‘2996 Red’ and given a longer and more pointed shock cone.

In the mid-1960s the basic J-6’s top speed of 1,450 km/h (901 mph) was considered inade­quate. The engineers at the Shenyang aircraft factory set to work refining the fighter, and the result was known as the J-6 II. The prototype (‘40404 Red’) made its first flight on 25th March 1969. This aircraft is now on display at the Datangshan nnuseunn together with a second exannple, ‘40403 Red’.

The Shenyang J-6 fighter III was a further development of the J-6 II. This aircraft has often been referred to as the J-6 Xin (‘new J-6’), but sonne sources dismiss this designation as inaccurate. As compared to the J-6 II, the wing span was reduced and the wing chord increased to compensate for this; flap and aileron area was increased accordingly. Launch rails for PL-2 AAMs were fitted to the wingtips – for the first time on a Chinese fighter. The two independ­ent hydraulic systems were replaced by a simpler and lighter common system. The J-6 III was powered by upgraded WP-6A engines. The armament consisted of three Type 30-1 can­nons without muzzle brakes. Finally, the brake parachute was installed at the base of the fin, as on the J-6B/C.

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