Shenyang J-6

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Shenyang J-6.jpg
A J-6 fighter flight display at the 2010 Zhuhai Air Show
Role Fighter aircraft
Manufacturer Shenyang Aircraft Corporation[1]
First flight 30 September 1959
Introduction 29 April 1962 (1964, practical type)
Retired Late 1990s (China)
Mid-2002 (Pakistan)
Status In service
Primary users People's Liberation Army Air Force
Pakistan Air Force
Korean People's Air Force
Bangladesh Air Force
Produced 19581986
Number built 4,500+ (including JJ-6 trainer)[1]
Developed from Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-19
Developed into Nanchang Q-5

The Shenyang J-6 (Chinese: 歼-6; designated F-6 for export versions; NATO reporting name: Farmer) is the Chinese-built version of the Soviet MiG-19 'Farmer' fighter aircraft, the world's first mass-produced supersonic aircraft.[1]

Design and development[edit]

Avmig15 3 08.png

Although the MiG-19 had a comparatively short life in Soviet service, the Chinese came to value its agility, turning performance, and powerful cannon armament, and produced it for their own use between 1958 and 1981. While the basic Soviet-built MiG-19 has been retired from all nations, the Shenyang J-6 still flies for nine of its original 15 operators, however, in a very limited capacity. The J-6 airframe contributed to the Chinese ground attack version, the Q-5, which still flies for numerous nations.

The J-6 was considered "disposable" and was intended to be operated for only 100 flight hours (or approximately 100 sorties) before being overhauled. The Pakistan Air Force was often able to extend this to 130 hours with diligent maintenance.[2]

A number of J-6 based at Lianchen and Yantan-li bases appeared to have been converted into unmanned aircraft,[3] possibly to be used to break through the air defence of Taiwan. A similar tactic was used by Azerbaijan during the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war, where Antonov An-2s were used to attract Armenian air defence, which would then be targeted by drones, such as the Bayraktar TB2. Work on unmanned J-6 was first reported in 2013.[4]


The J-6 has a maximum speed at altitude of 1,540 km/h (960 mph), Mach 1.45. Service ceiling is 17,900 m (58,700 ft). Combat radius with two drop tanks is about 640 km (400 mi). The aircraft is powered by two Liming Wopen-6A (Tumansky R-9) turbojet engines. In addition to the internal cannon armament, most have provision for four wing pylons for up to 250 kg (550 lb) each, with a maximum ordnance load of 500 kg (1,100 lb). Typical stores include unguided bombs, 55 mm rocket pods, or PL-2/PL-5 (Chinese versions of Soviet K-13 (NATO AA-2 'Atoll') air-to-air missiles.

Operational history[edit]


Albanian Air Force J-6s replaced the J-5s on the border to intercept Yugoslav incursions into Albanian airspace. However, the J-6 was ineffective against the faster Yugoslav MiG-21 'Fishbed'. Once the F-7A became available, the J-6 was redeployed to protect Tirana. As of 2005 all Albanian fighters were grounded due to a lack of spare parts.

Indo-Pakistani Wars[edit]

A retired Pakistan Air Force F-6 on display.

The F-6 was flown by the Pakistan Air Force from 1965 to 2002, the aircraft design undergoing around 140 modifications to improve its capabilities in the interceptor and close air support roles. Pakistani F-6 fighters participated in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, scoring approximately 6 confirmed aerial victories. Moreover, these were extensively used in the close air support role where their 3 x 30 mm guns were particularly effective against armor. The three Pakistani F-6 squadrons flew nearly a thousand sorties,[5] during which the PAF lost two F-6s to ground fire and suffered two losses in aerial combat, attributed to Indian Sukhoi Su-7s.[6] An F-6 was also lost to friendly fire.[7] One of the F-6 pilots shot down was Wajid Ali Khan, who was taken as a POW and later became a Member of Parliament in Canada. The single-seat F-6 was retired from the Pakistani Air Force in 2002, but the two-seat trainer, the FT-6, remained in service as a trainer aircraft for A-5 pilots till 2011.[citation needed]

Vietnam War[edit]

The supersonic speed advantage provided by the MiG-21's more modern turbojet engine was found to be not as useful in combat as originally thought, because aerial dogfights at the time were conducted almost entirely at subsonic speeds. The J-6 (and hence the MiG-19 too) was found to be more manoeuvrable than the MiG-21 and, although slower, its acceleration during dogfights was considered adequate. The North Vietnamese Air Force fielded at least one unit of J-6s during the war, the 925th Fighter Regiment, beginning in 1969.[8]


Somalia ordered at least eleven F-6Cs and two FT-6s in 1979.[9] Deliveries started in 1980.[10] They were used during border skirmishes with Ethiopia in 1981, and they also saw combat during the Somali Rebellion, in the second half of the 1980s and until 1991.[11]


Twelve F-6 fighters and two FT-6 trainers were reportedly delivered to the Sudanese Air Force, starting in 1973. Moreover, twelve F-6Cs were delivered between 1981 and 1983. Another batch of twelve F-6Cs might have been acquired in 1990, as well as two FT-6s in 2001.[12] Sudanese F-6s participated in the Second Sudanese Civil War, from the 1980s to the early 1990s.[13] One F-6 was claimed shot down by the rebels in 1988, and two more in the autumn of 1991.[14]

Uganda-Tanzania War[edit]

The Tanzania Air Force Command received its first batch of twelve F-6s starting in June 1973.[15] An additional twelve F-6Cs and up to four FT-6s were also delivered in 1982.[16] Tanzanian F-6s participated in the 1978–1979 Uganda-Tanzania War. However, they aren't known to have been involved in any air-to-air combats.[17]


Twelve F-6s were delivered to the Zambian Air Force, probably between 1976 and 1978.[18] On 8 June 1980, Zambian F-6s intercepted and shot down an Angolan Yakovlev Yak-40, under unknown circumstances.[19]

Kampuchea-Vietnam War[edit]

Shenyang J-6 fighter at Vietnamese People's Air Force Museum, Hanoi

In the era of Khmer Rouge control of Cambodia (1975–1979), Chinese-supplied Khmer J-6s participated in Kampuchea-Vietnamese border clashes for ground attacks. During the Vietnamese invasion in 1978, the Cambodian aircraft were reluctant to take-off to intercept the Vietnamese ones, thus the Vietnamese captured a number of J-6s and put them on public display.

Iran–Iraq War[edit]

During the 1980–88 Iran–Iraq War, both sides deployed J-6 fighter jets. Documents from the US Defense Intelligence Agency released under the Freedom of Information Act (United States) on Chinese arms sales to Iran reveal that between 1980 and 1987 China delivered 100 J-6 fighter jets to Iran.[20] Iraq's J-6 fighters were transferred from the Egyptian Air Force. Most missions J-6s performed during the Iran-Iraq War were air-to-ground attack.[21]


Two-seat FT-6
  • Shenyang J-6 – (a.k.a. Type 59, Dongfeng-102, Product 47 and F-6) Despite having no suffix to the designation, the J-6 appeared after the initial production of the J-6A had begun. The J-6 was equivalent, but not identical, to the MiG-19S.[1]
  • Shenyang J-6A – (a.k.a. Type 59A, Dongfeng-103, Jianjiji-6 Jia) – Early production from 1958 to 1960 was sub-standard and not accepted by the PLAAF. Production was halted, the jigs scrapped, and production restarted with assistance from the USSR. The J-6A was equivalent to the MiG-19P. The maiden flight was made by Wang Shuhuai on 17 December 1958. Only around 100 aircraft from this version were produced. It was reported that the J-6A never actually passed the PLAAF's tests. The planes were of little operational value and suffered from quality issues, flight characteristics were much lower than those of the J-6.[1]
  • Shenyang J-6A – Production of the J-6 restarted after new assembly jigs, and other assistance, acquired from the USSR. Similar to MiG-19PF, an all-weather radar-equipped interceptor with two NR-30 30mm cannon. Exported as the F-6A.[1]
  • J-6B – (a.k.a. Type 59B, Dongfeng-105 and Jianjiji-6 Yi) Similar to MiG-19PM "Farmer-D", interceptor with two PL-1 (Chinese version of Soviet K-5 (AA-1 'Alkali') beam-riding air-to-air missiles; it is unclear if the J-6B retains its cannon. Only 19 J-6Bs were built by Nanchang Aircraft Mfg. Co. before the programme was terminated.[1]
  • J-6C – (a.k.a. Jianjiji-6 Bing, Product 55 and F-6C) Day fighter version with three 30mm cannons and braking parachute at the base of the rudder.[1] This cannon's codename is Type 30-1.[22]
  • Shenyang J-6I – Single-seat day-fighter prototype with fixed shock cone on the intake splitter plate.[1]
  • Shenyang J-6II – Single-seat tactical fighter prototype with adjustable shock cone on a raked back intake splitter plate.[1]
  • Shenyang J-6III – Advanced version of the J-6A with radome on the splitter plate (rather than the shock cone centerbody) for a Chinese-made radar. May also have been designated J-6 Xin.[1]
  • Shenyang/Tianjin JJ-6 – (Jianjiji Jiaolianji – fighter trainer, a.k.a. Product 48 and FT-6) Chinese designed two-seat trainer, stretched 84 cm (33.1 in) to accommodate second seat, armed with one 30 mm cannon.[1]
  • Shenyang JZ-6 – (Jianjiji Zhenchaji – reconnaissance fighter) Dedicated reconnaissance version with fuselage camera pack replacing cannon. As of April 2006, it was reported that the PLAAF 3rd Reconnaissance Regiment, 26 Air Division based in Nanjing MR, is the last regiment to actively fly the JZ-6 refusing to convert to JZ-8F.[23] Exported as the Shenyang FR-6.
  • Shenyang/Tianjin JJ-6 TestbedEjection seat testbed that succeeded H-5 ejection seat testbed.[1]
  • Xian BW-1 – Fly-by-wire flying controls test-bed for the Xian JH-7 flying control system.[1]
  • Guizhou J-6A – J-6A aircraft upgraded to carry two PL-2 (Pi Li – Thunderbolt) Infrared-homing air-to-air missiles. The first flight was on 21 December 1975.
  • J-6W - unmanned variant,[24] first reported in 2013[25]


Shenyang J-6 Operators 2010 (former operators in red)

Current operators[edit]


 North Korea

Former operators[edit]

A Bangladesh Air Force FT-6 preserved at the Children's park.
An Albanian Shenyang J-6C in Kucova Airbase.
Egyptian Air Force personnel inspect an Egyptian F-6
A Bangladesh Air Force F-6 in BAF Museum
  • Somali Air Corps – Somali F-6s were dumped and destroyed in the years following the disintegration of the SAC in 1991.[33]

Specifications (J-6)[edit]

The nose of an F-6, showing the 30 mm cannons fitted in the right wing root and the lower body.

Data from Chinese aircraft : China's aviation industry since 1951,[34] Combat aircraft since 1945[35]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1 (JJ-6 trainer – 2)
  • Length: 14.64 m (48 ft 0 in) (variants with nose pitot probe)
12.54 m (41.1 ft) (variants without nose pitot probe)
  • Wingspan: 9 m (29 ft 6 in)
  • Height: 3.885 m (12 ft 9 in)
  • Wing area: 25.16 m2 (270.8 sq ft)
  • Empty weight: 5,172 kg (11,402 lb) to 5,447 kg (12,009 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 7,560 kg (16,667 lb) clean
8,662 kg (19,096 lb) with drop tanks
8,832 kg (19,471 lb) with drop tanks and rocket pods
  • Fuel capacity: 1,735–1,800 kg (3,825–3,968 lb) internal
2,796 kg (6,164 lb) with drop tanks


  • Maximum speed: 1,540 km/h (960 mph, 830 kn)
  • Maximum speed: Mach 1.3
  • Range: 1,400 km (870 mi, 760 nmi)
  • Combat range: 640 km (400 mi, 350 nmi)
  • Ferry range: 2,200 km (1,400 mi, 1,200 nmi) with drop tanks
  • Endurance: 1 hour 43 minutes clean
2 hours 38 minutes with drop tanks
  • Service ceiling: 15,800 m (51,800 ft) at military power
17,500–17,900 m (57,400–58,700 ft) with full afterburner
  • Rate of climb: 180 m/s (35,000 ft/min)
  • Take-off run: 900 m (3,000 ft) at full military power
515 m (1,690 ft) with full afterburner
  • Landing run: 610 m (2,000 ft) with brake parachute
890 m (2,920 ft) without brake parachute


  • 3x 30 mm NR-30 cannons (70 rounds per gun for wing guns, 55 rounds for fuselage gun)
  • Up to 250 kg (550 lb) of unguided bombs or rockets pods, or PL-2/PL-5 (Chinese versions of Soviet K-13 (NATO AA-2 'Atoll') air-to-air missiles on 4 underwing pylons

See also[edit]

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era

Related lists



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Gordon, Yefim & Komissarov, Dmitry. Chinese Aircraft. Hikoki Publications. Manchester. 2008. ISBN 978-1-902109-04-6
  2. ^ Yeager and Janos 1986, p. 396.
  3. ^ Yeo, Mike (20 October 2021). "China shows off drones recycled from Soviet-era fighter jets". Defense News. Retrieved 26 October 2021.
  4. ^ "Китай создал беспилотный вариант МиГ-19 для прорыва противовоздушной обороны Тайваня". (in ru-RU). Retrieved 26 October 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)
  5. ^ Air Commodore Qadeer Ahmad Hashmi, "Final Salute to F-6", URL: Archived 26 March 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 30 December 2009. Retrieved 12 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ AIRCRAFT LOSSES IN PAKISTAN −1971 WAR Archived 1 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine – Bharat Rakshak
  8. ^ Toperczer, Istvan. MiG-17 and MiG-19 Units of the Vietnam War. 2001, Osprey Publishing Limited. ISBN 1-84176-162-1
  9. ^ Cooper et al. 2011, pp. 99, 107
  10. ^ Cooper et al. 2011, p. 97
  11. ^ Cooper et al. 2011, pp. 107, 110
  12. ^ Cooper et al. 2011, p. 116
  13. ^ Cooper et al. 2011, pp. 133, 135
  14. ^ Cooper et al. 2011, pp. 135, 153
  15. ^ Cooper et al. 2011, p. 161
  16. ^ Cooper et al. 2011, pp. 161, 165–166
  17. ^ Cooper et al. 2011, p. 167
  18. ^ Cooper et al. 2011, p. 200
  19. ^ Cooper et al. 2011, p. 204
  20. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 December 2017. Retrieved 12 July 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  21. ^ "J-6 Fighter Jets in wars". Archived from the original on 6 September 2011. Retrieved 5 September 2011.
  22. ^ "J6 fighter jet ammunition". Archived from the original on 6 September 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
  23. ^ "China Defense Blog". Archived from the original on 8 July 2011. Retrieved 16 August 2006.
  24. ^ Reed, John. "Meet China's new-old killer drones". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 22 August 2021.
  25. ^ Yeo, Mike. "China shows off drones recycled from Soviet-era fighter jets". Defense News. Retrieved 21 October 2021.
  26. ^ Hoyle and Fafard Flight International 10–16 December 2019, p. 35
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  31. ^ Hoyle and Fafard Flight International 10–16 December 2019, p. 51
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  33. ^ Cooper et al. 2011, p. 110
  34. ^ Gordon, Yefim; Komissarov, Dmitry (2008). Chinese aircraft : China's aviation industry since 1951 (1st ed.). Manchester: Hikoki Publications. pp. 31–47. ISBN 978-1-902109-04-6.
  35. ^ Wilson, Stewart (2000). Combat aircraft since 1945. Fyshwick: Aerospace Publications. p. 125. ISBN 1-875671-50-1.


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  • Gunston, Bill. The Osprey Encyclopaedia of Russian Aircraft 1875–1995. London, Osprey. 1995. ISBN 1-85532-405-9
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  • [1]

External links[edit]