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Harbin SH-5 (Shuishang Hongzhaji)

Amphibious Flying Boat / Maritime Patrol Aircraft

China | 1986

"Introduced in 1986, the Harbin SH-5 flying boat was only procured through seven total examples."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 04/27/2020 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
The Harbin SH-5 became a locally designed and developed flying boat for the Chinese Navy ("PLAN") during the latter stages of the Cold War (1947-1991). Design work on the type began in 1968 from the abortive Objective 3/17 program which resulted in a working prototype completing its first flight on April 3rd, 1976. However, the development phase proved rather lengthy for the aircraft did not see formal introduction into the PLAN inventory until 1986. Limited serial production spanned from 1984 until 1985 to which just seven examples were ultimately produced. The line still sees operational service today (2015) though it is ready to be superseded by more modern types such as the in-development AVIC "TA-600".

The series is no doubt influenced by Soviet-era flying boats - its hull is boat-like and allows for water landings and take-off with the cockpit set high above the nose with a commanding view of the terrain ahead. The wing mainplanes are of a monoplane design and shoulder-mounted, each fitted with a pair of engines along their leading edges as well as underslung floats for on-water stability. The tail unit features a twin vertical tail arrangement and is fitted atop the fuselage aft. While the SH-5 is primarily a water-based system it retains a wheeled undercarriage for functionality on land. In this way, the series is a true amphibian with excellent maritime capabilities - chiefly versatility and range.

The SH-5 sees a typical operating crew of eight. Its payload capacity can reach up to 22,000 pounds and the airframe is rated for up to 13,000 pounds of armament-carrying. Dimensions include an overall length of 127.6 feet, a wingspan of 118 feet and a height of 32 feet. Empty weight is 55,115 pounds with a Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) listed at 99,200 pounds. Power is served through 4 x "Dongan" WJ5A series turboprop engines developing 3,150 horsepower apiece while driving 4 x four-bladed constant speed propellers with an integrated reverse feature (the Dongan also powers the Xian Y-7 transport). Performance specifications include a maximum speed of 345 miles per hour, a cruising speed of 280 miles per hour, a range out to 3,000 miles, and a service ceiling of 33,630 feet. The avionics fit is comprised of Doppler search radar unit housed in the nose. A Magnetic Anomaly Detector (MAD) boom is extended from the tail section as needed.

In terms of armament, the SH-5 supports various maritime-related weapon systems including Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) torpedoes, Anti-Ship Missiles (ASMs), depth charges, naval mines and conventional drop bombs across four external hardpoints.

"SH-5" has been used to designate the original production models which included the sole prototype and four production-quality forms. This led to the "SH-5A" mark which were essentially SH-5 airframes outfitted with ELectronic INTelligence (ELINT) equipment for the maritime patrol role. At least one of the SH-5 batch was modified to serve in the firefighting role and designated as "PS-5".

One SH-5 is known to have been lost in a crash, this occurring during 2013 and costing the lives of all of its crewmembers.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Harbin SH-5 (Shuishang Hongzhaji) Amphibious Flying Boat / Maritime Patrol Aircraft.
4 x Dongan WJ5A turboprop engines developing 3,150 horsepower each.
345 mph
555 kph | 300 kts
Max Speed
33,629 ft
10,250 m | 6 miles
Service Ceiling
2,955 miles
4,756 km | 2,568 nm
Operational Range
1,800 ft/min
549 m/min
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Harbin SH-5 (Shuishang Hongzhaji) Amphibious Flying Boat / Maritime Patrol Aircraft.
127.6 ft
38.90 m
O/A Length
118.1 ft
(36.00 m)
O/A Width
32.1 ft
(9.79 m)
O/A Height
55,116 lb
(25,000 kg)
Empty Weight
99,208 lb
(45,000 kg)
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected below are altitude, speed, and range. The more full the box, the more balanced the design.
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Harbin SH-5 (Shuishang Hongzhaji) Amphibious Flying Boat / Maritime Patrol Aircraft .
Variable: Up to 13,000 pounds of stores including torpedoes, Anti-Ship Missiles (ASMs), depth charges, naval mines, and conventional drop bombs across four underwing hardpoints.
Notable series variants as part of the Harbin SH-5 (Shuishang Hongzhaji) family line.
SH-5 - Base Series Model; sources vary on exact numbers completed.
SH-5A - Dedicated Maritime Patrol Platform; conversions of existing SH-5 models for the role; three examples.
SH-5B (PS-5) - Firefighting variant; example converted from existing SH-5 airframe.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Harbin SH-5 (Shuishang Hongzhaji). Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 7 Units

Contractor(s): Harbin Aircraft Factory - China
National flag of China

[ China ]
Going Further...
The Harbin SH-5 (Shuishang Hongzhaji) Amphibious Flying Boat / Maritime Patrol Aircraft appears in the following collections:
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