Shenyang (AVIC) J-6 / F-6 (Farmer) Jet-Powered Interceptor / Fighter Aircraft
The Shenyang J-6 was nothing more than a direct copy of the Soviet-era Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-19 Farmer jet-powered fighter.
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For decades China, and its regional allies, relied on the availability of their Shenyang J-6 series (NATO codename of "Farmer") of jet aircraft. The type was nothing more than a license-production copy of the short-lived Soviet Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-19 "Farmer" that replaced the venerable MiG-17 "Frescos" then in service. The J-6 stocked the ranks of the PLAAF in some number with other quantitative operators of note becoming Pakistan and North Korea. In all, some 15 nations procured the aircraft as their first-line fighter, a budget alternative to the more expensive Soviet model. To date, Iran, Myanmar and North Korea still make use of the type, albeit in greatly diminished numbers than previously experienced. The PLAAF has since discontinued use of the aged fighter design though still retains over 100 trainer examples to educate new generations of Chinese fighter pilots. At one point, the J-6 represented the most numerous of all the available PLAAF combat-oriented aircraft and also served as the starting point for the Nanchang Q-5 "Fantan"
strike fighter detailed elsewhere on this site.
Technically, the supersonic-capable J-6 was categorized as both a dedicated fighter and a ground attack aircraft. However, the system was designed with the former as primary with the latter as secondary. As a Chinese copy of the Soviet version, the J-6's design resembled that of the MiG-19
to a high degree complete with a nose-mounted air intake, dual engine arrangement, highly-swept wings with large boundary layer fencing and a single vertical tail fin. From the beginning, the J-6 was intended as a short-lived fighter development to be made available in quantity to the PLAAF and other interested parties.
The Chinese concern of Shenyang worked with Soviet engineers to begin production of the MiG-19P radar-equipped interceptor with the first such aircraft flying on December 17th, 1958 under the designation of "Shenyang J-6". In 1961, the Shenyang J-6 was formally introduced for service in the PLAAF and Shenyang was joined by Nanchang in production of the MiG-19S dedicated day fighter model. However, national budget cuts meant that these early aircraft were often completed to a low standard and numbers were slow to accumulate. By 1966, the political situation had stabilized enough that production was back online and the MiG-19S variant was now beginning to meet quality expectations. An indigenous interception radar was also then developed to allow the Chinese to produce the MiG-19P equivalent as an "all-Chinese" effort without having to rely on much Soviet help in their construction. Production of the J-6 spanned from 1958 to 1981 and an export family class variant soon emerged, this designated as the "F-6".
The engine of choice for the J-6/F-6 became a Chinese copy of the Tumansky RD-9B series afterburning turbojet engines fitted side-by-side in the middle-to-aft fuselage. In Chinese nomenclature, this engine received the designation of "Liming Wopen-6A" and offered up to 8,267lbs of thrust each with afterburner available for short, high-speed bursts. The aircraft was filled with nearly 4,000lbs of fuel and could reach speeds of 960 miles per hour, field an operational range of 1,375 miles, reach a service ceiling of 58,700 feet and climb 35,425 feet per minute. All told, the Chinese respected the type's inherent agility and performance specifications when modernizing its fighter fleet and felt the aircraft packed enough of an offensive punch to meet their needs.