|This page is about the Chinese strike aircraft Q-5 early. For other versions, see Q-5 (Family).
- 1 Description
- 2 General info
- 3 Armaments
- 4 Usage in battles
- 5 History
- 6 Media
- 7 See also
- 8 External links
The Q-5 early (强-5型强击机; NATO codename: Fantan), also known as the Q-5 attackers produced from 1969. It was developed after the PLAAF captured some coastal islands from the Nationalist forces and observed the effectiveness of the IL-10 attackers in air-land operations. However, the propeller-driven IL-10 was outdated by the late 1950s, when the PLAAF had acquired supersonic jets like the MiG-19 and its license-built version, the J-6. The PLAAF approved a design for a jet attacker based on the MiG-19, but with a side intake, called the Dongfeng 106. The design process was delayed by the economic difficulties during the Great Leap Forward and took ten years to complete. The final Q-5 model was accepted by the PLAAF in 1969 and remained in production until 1979, with 515 units built. The Q-5A variant replaced it in 1983.project, was the first series of
Introduced in Update "Raining Fire" as the first Chinese supersonic striker, the Q-5 early is the first jet aircraft of indigenous design in the Chinese tech tree. It is derived from the J-6/MiG-19, but it has a new forward fuselage with side-mounted air intakes and a pointed nose, giving it a sleek appearance. It is designed as an attacker, and it has better ground attack ordnance than the J-6A, including 90 mm rocket pods and up to four 250 kg bombs. It can also perform well in air-to-air combat, as it has similar flight characteristics and armament to the J-6A, but at a lower battle rating in Realistic Battles. The Q-5 is not very easy to fly, but skilled pilots can appreciate this iconic piece of Chinese aviation history.
Despite weighing about 10% more than the J-6A when empty, the Q-5 early still feels similar in terms of general flight performance. Acceleration, climb, and turning capability are good for its battle rating and the Q-5 can match or exceed late subsonic and early supersonic aircraft. It can reach about 1210 km/h at sea level thanks to its cleaner aerodynamic design, which actually compares very well to the J-6A, but it is noticeably slower than the J-6A at higher altitudes. It compresses more in dives, has somewhat worse low speed handling, and does not carry as much fuel. Anyone used to flying the J-6A or MiG-19PT will have few issues transitioning to the Q-5 and similar tactics can be used.
| Max Speed
(km/h at 7,000 m)
| Max altitude
| Turn time
| Rate of climb
| Take-off run
|Max Static G
|Optimal velocities (km/h)
|Wing loading (full fuel)
|Shenyang Liming WP-6
|Mass with fuel (no weapons load)
| Max Takeoff
|Afterburning axial-flow turbojet
|Thrust to weight ratio @ 0 m (WEP)
| 2,323 kgf
| 3,285 kgf
Survivability and armour
- 10 mm steel plate behind nose cone
- 4.5 + 8 mm bulletproof glass in front of the cockpit
- 8 mm steel plate underneath cockpit
- 16 mm steel armoured pilot's seat
- 10 + 25 mm steel armoured pilot's headrest
- Self-sealing fuel tanks behind cockpit and underneath engines in rear fuselage
The Q-5 protects the pilot from small arms fire and machine guns, but at a battle rating of 9.7, this level of protection does not amount to much. Enemy cannons and missiles will make short work of the Q-5 so avoiding incoming fire is paramount. The twin engines are likely to be damaged by attacks from the rear, but having two of them offers some extra survivability since it is capable of flying back to base on one engine. The elevators also have separate damage models and the aircraft remains somewhat controllable if one of them is blown off.
Modifications and economy
The Q-5 early is armed with:
- 2 x 23 mm Type 23-2K cannons, wing-mounted (120 rpg = 240 total)
The original 30 mm Type 30/NR-30 cannons, known for their fearsome firepower, have been replaced with short-barreled 23 mm cannons. The Type 23-2K is a licensed copy of the Soviet AM-23, which was originally used as a defensive weapon for bombers like the famous Tu-95 "Bear". Compared to the NR-23 seen on earlier Soviet fighters, it has a 28% higher rate of fire. Although it is less powerful than the NR-30 and more difficult to aim, it can still do good work with a bit of luck. Using the Type 23-2K cannons against ground targets should not be a priority since their penetration is not much higher than a heavy machine gun and the ammo supply is limited.
The default belt has an even mix of FI-T and AP-I rounds and should be satisfactory from the start. Gun convergence is not a major issue since the cannons are mounted close to the centerline of the aircraft in the wing roots, and is up to personal preference.
The Q-5 early can be outfitted with the following ordnance:
|250 kg Type 250-2 bombs
|Type 90-1 rockets
|Default weapon presets
The Q-5 early's suspended armaments are an improvement over the J-6A, but nothing spectacular. It can carry four 250 kg bombs, two mounted on fuselage hardpoints and two mounted in the internal bomb bay. These are small for the Q-5's battle rating and four of them is not enough to destroy a single base. In mixed battles, they require more precision against ground targets than the typical 1,000 lb/500 kg bombs used for CAS.
In addition to the bombs, it can carry a pair of 90 mm rocket pods with seven rockets each. The Type 90-1 rockets are better than the anemic S-5 rockets used by typical Soviet jets and can penetrate 280 mm of armour with 1.03 kg of TNT equivalent, but their capacity is very limited; the contemporary A-4E Early can carry 171 comparable FFAR Mighty Mouse rockets.
Usage in battles
The Q-5 early can be used similarly to the MiG-19 or J-6A. As discussed, it has inferior performance and armament but tends to face easier opposition.
Although it was historically an attack aircraft, the Q-5 is not a first-rate ground attacker in Air RB since its ordnance is rather anemic compared to other jets at its battle rating. It cannot destroy a base with its four 250 kg bombs, but this is still an option for supplementary research points when grinding: stay at low altitude, loop around to a side base, drop the bombs, then head towards the center of the map to join the furball. Going after AI ground vehicles with the bombs and rockets can also be successful provided that other jets do not arrive quickly to crash the party.
When fighting subsonic aircraft, try to enter engagements with a speed advantage. The Q-5 accelerates well and has a high top speed at sea level, so it's not difficult to make a pass and escape afterwards while dodging some fire. If an enemy is catching up to you or is getting too close for comfort, pull them into a climbing spiral or other vertical manoeuvres; the Q-5 has enough of the MiG-19's climb and thrust-to-weight to energy fight in a similar manner and a stalled-out target is easier to gun down. Against supersonic aircraft, the Q-5's speed advantage is lessened and it needs to utilize its turn rate and acceleration more.
The lack of missiles is a significant drawback since the Q-5 has a difficult time forcing escaping enemies to dodge or shooting down stall-climbing opponents. It also has no countermeasures, so if a Harrier GR.1 with SRAAMs manages to get close on the Q-5's tail, the situation is unlikely to end well. The main selling point of this aircraft in air-to-air combat is its performance as opposed to its weapons or defenses; good situational awareness and judgement are necessary to make the most out of it.
Remember to take more than the minimum fuel. The Q-5 early has a limited fuel capacity since the internal bomb bay occupies space otherwise reserved for fuel tanks and the twin engines are very thirsty on afterburner.
Mixed ground battles
The Type 90-1 rockets can penetrate most targets not equipped with composite armour or ERA. Against protected targets, attacks should be made to the roof, side, or rear. Try using them against soft targets like light tanks and SPAAs that are vulnerable to overpressure. The main drawback to these rockets is their low capacity. Do not expect to score more than one kill or assist unless your aim is exceptional.
The 250 kg 250-2 high-drag bombs, which can be dropped individually, do not have much explosive content and need to be delivered with decent accuracy in order to score kills. In practical use, only dropping all of them is viable (so do remember to set consecutive dropping for bombs to all). Because of the lack of CCIP equipment for ground attack and of the can-like form of the bomb which increases the drag a lot, the only option for it is try to seek for stationary targets, at best grouped targets where 4 x 250 kg bombs can do some fair damage to them. It is suggested to enter the battlefield at higher speed of 700-800 km/h and to open the bomb bay as soon as you've aligned with the target. Although it was called a "high-drag bomb", the 250-2 can still fly a fair amount of distance at higher speed, so dropping them at level flight is destined to a wasteful miss. Instead, climb up and start a 10-15° dive upon the target for best accuracy, leave at least 400 m upon the target, set a 1-second fuse to minimize the risk of both the target and yourself bite the dust. Which also means at maps with hilly terrain, the Type 90-1 would be the safer choice for ground attack as some maps might not have enough clearance to pull up.
After using up the ordnance, which can be done in just one or two passes, the Q-5 can switch into an air superiority role. It can out-accelerate and outmanoeuvre most contemporary fighters and the Ground RB environment makes advantages in top speed or radar-guided missiles less significant. If there are no enemy jets or helicopters around, it is best to return to base and restock on ordnance for another attack run.
Be wary of enemy SPAA while ground attacking or dogfighting. The Q-5 early lacks a radar warning receiver and anti-aircraft cannons or missiles can open fire suddenly. Do not head-on or stall out in full view of an SPAA, and even when the coast appears to be clear, avoid flying in straight lines.
Pros and cons
- High acceleration
- Good climb rate
- Excellent top speed at sea level
- Fantastic energy retention
- Good ammunition stock
- With some luck, the 23 mm cannons can make quick work of enemy aircraft
- Good sustained manoeuvrability, can out-turn F-4 Phantoms and keep up with MiG-21s
- Well-placed cannons in the wing roots
- Average roll rate
- Tail locks up at high speeds
- Easily beaten in manoeuvrability by most subsonic aircraft
- The 23 mm cannons sometimes fall short in damage
- New players may experience difficulty with aiming the 23 mm cannons of such type (found also on the MiG-15bis and MiG-17)
- Less powerful ordnance than contemporaries like the Su-7B or F-100D
- Limited fuel capacity
- No air-to-air missiles
The Nanchang Q-5 'Fantan' is a Chinese land-based fighter-bomber, close support aircraft and nuclear strike aircraft. Developed in the early 1950s as a replacement for the ageing Soviet-made IL-10 attack aircraft, the plane was developed from the MiG-19 airframe. Though it entered service relatively late due to the effects of the Cultural Revolution, it still saw extensive service as the primary attack aircraft of the Chinese Air Force. As well, it was exported to several countries including Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar. Though it has now been retired from active Chinese service, the aircraft remains in service with the Myanmar Air Force.
Design and development
In the early 1950s, China lacked and needed a new ground attack aircraft. While other nations were re-equipping with advanced attack aircraft such as the A-4 Skyhawk and F-100 Super Sabre, the Chinese Air Force still used the obsolete propeller-powered IL-10, a relic of the Second World War. As a result, the Chinese Air Force started studying concepts for a new supersonic jet-powered attack aircraft. However, the state of Chinese aircraft technology was far behind other nations, and as a result, existing designs were studied; these included the Soviet Su-7 and MiG-19, which was already in service as the Shenyang J-6. As a result, the final design was based on the MiG-19, and shared many of its characteristics.
The Q-5 shared the MiG-19's aft section and engines, but had a completely redesigned forward section making it 25% longer. As a result, the aircraft had a significantly reduced top speed, though it was still capable of flying supersonic. The nose was redesigned and featured the air intakes on the sides, behind the cockpit, while the cockpit canopy was adjusted as well. The armament was changed to two 23-mm cannons in place of the MiG-19's NR-30s.
The Q-5's construction was delayed due to the effects of the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. Thus, the first Q-5 prototype flew on June 4th, 1965.
The Early Q-5 was first introduced into the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) in the late 1960s. It served as the primary ground attack aircraft of the Air Force for several years, before being superseded by later variants of the aircraft including the Q-5A. As such, it was used merely as a stopgap measure until the improved Q-5 variants were introduced. None are still in service, though late-variant Q-5s are still in service with the Myanmar Air Force.
Having started production of the Shenyang J-6 - the Chinese version of the Soviet MiG-19 - in 1958, the PLA issued an order to develop a ground attack version of the aircraft in August of the same year. By 1960, design work on the aircraft had concluded, but political turmoil in the country at the time caused prototype construction and further development to be delayed until the mid 1960's.
In June 1965, the prototype of the aircraft that would become known as the Nanchang Q-5, first took to the skies for its maiden flight. Following further testing, the decision to put the aircraft into production was made in 1969, while first deliveries began being made in 1970.
The Q-5 officially entered service with the Chinese Air Force in 1970. Around 100 aircraft of the early versions were built out of a total of around 1,300 aircraft of all variants. However, later models continued service with Chinese forces well into the 2000's. Apart from the PLA, the Q-5 also saw service with Bangladesh, Pakistan, Myanmar, North Korea and Sudan.
- Related development
- Peck, M. (2019)
- Eastern Order of Battle. (n.d.)
- Peck, M. (2019, October 18). Meet the Nanchang Q-5: China's Nuclear Bomber. Retrieved November 20, 2020, from https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/meet-nanchang-q-5-chinas-nuclear-bomber-89681
- Eastern Order of Battle. (n.d.). Nanchang Q-5 Fantan attack aircraft at the People's Liberation Army Air Force Part One. Retrieved November 20, 2020, from http://www.easternorbat.com/html/nanchang_q-5_fantan_01_eng.html
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