Military Wiki
Role Maritime patrol amphibian /attack
Manufacturer Harbin Aircraft Factory
First flight 3 April 1976[1]
Introduction 1986
Primary user People's Liberation Army Naval Air Force
Produced 1984-1985
Number built 6 [2]

The Harbin SH-5 (Chinese: 水轰五型, where "水轰" is short for "水上轰炸机"(Shuishang Hongzhaji), literally "seaborne bomber") is a Chinese maritime patrol amphibious aircraft intended for a wide range of duties, including aerial firefighting, anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and air-sea rescue (SAR). They are used for maritime and search and rescue operations. Only 6 units are build not counting the prototype; all are in active service except one crashed on May 30, 2013. One is outfitted as a firefighting plane.

Development History

Research to build a seaplane capable of replacing Beriev Be-6s in service is initiated by PLANAF in 1968, with designers overhauled from "Objective 3/17", a supersonic canard-wing fighter project. The first prototype is flown in 1976; further units are delivered between 1986 and 1990.


SH-5 is an important milestone in Chinese aviation history in that it is the first Chinese aircraft to be equipped with a passive phased array radar (PPAR), designated as Type 698 side-looking ranging radar. This domestically built side-looking PPAR is completely indigenously developed with contributions from numerous Chinese industrial and scientific establishments. Developmental research for an airborne side-looking PPAR feasibility study first begun in 1964, and in 1970, the work on radar itself finally begun. However, due to the political turmoil in China at the time, namely, the Cultural Revolution, the first flight test of the PPAR was not completed until 1978, and it would take almost an additional half a decade after that to perfect the system until its final state certification to accept the system into service. Due to the limitation of Chinese industrial and scientific capability at the time, this first domestic Chinese airborne PAR/PPAR is a ranging only radar. During its service, the PPAR installed on SH-5 has been continuously upgraded, with original magnetron replaced by a klystron, which in turn, was finally replaced by a traveling wave tube, which helped to improve reliability and reduced operational cost. Despite the upgrades, this airborne side-looking PPAR remained a ranging only radar capable of providing info on target as small as the periscope, but according to the Chinese, the experience gained from this project had helped China in developing other more advanced airborne PPAR later on. The range of Type 698 side-looking PPAR is greater than 20 km for submarine periscope, over 50 km for small boats, and further for larger ships.


The only production series, 1 prototype and 4 production aircraft built.
Some SH-5's converted for ELINT duties.
SH-5B Firefighter
One SH-5 was rebuilt for firefighting duties.[3] It is designated as PS-5.


 People's Republic of China
One unit crashed in 2013 with all crew lost.
  • Harbin Aircraft Factory has 2 aircraft built after 1986, delivered in 1990s.

Specifications (SH-5)

Data from Jane's Aircraft Recognition Guide,[5] Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1988-89[6]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 8
  • Capacity: 10,000 kg (22,000 lb) maximum payload (cargo), 6,000 kg (13,000 lb) maximum weapons load
  • Length: 38.9 m (127 ft 7 in)
  • Wingspan: 36 m (118 ft 1 in)
  • Height: 9.79 m (32 ft 1 in)
  • Wing area: 144 m2 (1,550 sq ft)
  • Empty weight: 25,000 kg (55,116 lb) SAR (Search And Rescue) and Transport
26,500 kg (58,400 lb) ASW (Anti-Submarine Wsrfare)
  • Gross weight: 36,000 kg (79,366 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 45,000 kg (99,208 lb)
  • Fuel capacity: 16,500 kg (36,400 lb) max
  • Powerplant: 4 × Dongan WJ5A turboprop engines, 2,350 kW (3,150 hp) each
  • Propellers: 4-bladed constant speed reversible propellers, 3.8 m (12 ft 6 in) diameter


  • Maximum speed: 556 km/h; 345 mph (300 kn)
  • Cruise speed: 450 km/h; 280 mph (243 kn) maximum
  • Min Patrol speed: 230 km/h (120 kn; 140 mph)
  • Take-off speed (water): 160 km/h (86 kn; 99 mph)
  • Landing speed (water): 92 km/h (50 kn; 57 mph)
  • Range: 4,756 km; 2,955 mi (2,568 nmi) with maximum fuel
  • Endurance: 15 hours on two engines
  • Service ceiling: 10,250 m (33,629 ft) service ceiling
  • Rate of climb: 9 m/s (1,800 ft/min)
  • Wing loading: 250 kg/m2 (51 lb/sq ft) at 36,000 kg (79,000 lb)
312.5 kg/m² (64 lb/sqft) at 45,000 kg (99,000 lb)
  • Power/mass: 0.302 kW/kg (0.184 hp/lb) at 36,000 kg (79,000 lb)
0.242 kW/kg (0.147 hp/lb) at 45,000 kg (99,000 lb)
  • Take-off run (water): 548 m (1,798 ft)
  • Landing run (water): 240 m (790 ft)

four hardpoints; 6,000 kg (13,000 lb) warload; C-101 ASMs, ASW torpedoes, depth charges; mines; bombs

Doppler search radar in nose radome; MAD (Magnetic Anomoly Detector) boom extending from the tail of the fuselage

See also


  1. The SH-5 Aircraft
  2. 2.0 2.1 The Harbin SH-5
  3. The Harbin SH-5
  4. SH-5 Amphibious Aircraft, Chinese Defense Today
  5. Rendall, David (1995). Jane's Aircraft Recognition Guide. Glasgow, UK: HarperCollinsPublishers. pp. 505. ISBN 0-00-470980-2. 
  6. John W.R. Taylor, ed (1988). Jane's all the World's Aircraft. London: Janes infromation Group. ISBN 0 7106 0867 5. 

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