The Xian H-6 is a license-built variant of the Soviet’s Tupolev Tu-16 twinjet bomber, introduced in 1969 for People’s Liberation Army Air Force of China.

1960 to: Present
US$46 million (1980)
2x Xian WP8
21,000 pound-force
Max Cruise Speed:
570 knots
1,056 Km/h
Approach Speed (Vref):
Travel range:
3,200 Nautical Miles
5,926 Kilometers
Fuel Economy:
Service Ceiling:
42,000 feet
Rate of Climb:
3600 feet / minute
18.29metre / second
Take Off Distance:
2100 metre - 6,889.68 feet
Landing Distance:
1539 metre - 5,049.15 feet
Max Take Off Weight:
79,000 Kg
174,163 lbs
Max Landing Weight:
46,000 Kg
101,412 lbs
Max Payload:
39,000 Kg
85,979 lbs
Fuel Tank Capacity:
12,125 gallon
45,898 litre
Baggage Volume:
Seats - Economy / General:
6 seats
Seats - Business Class:
Seats - First Class:
Cabin Height:
Cabin Width:
Cabin Length:
Exterior Length:
34.8 metre - 114.17 feet
Tail height:
10.36 metre - 33.99 feet
Fuselage Diameter:
2 metre - 6.56 feet
Wing Span / Rotor Diameter:
33 metre - 108.27 feet
Wing Tips:
No Winglets

In the late 1950s, China acquired several Tu-16 twin-engine jet bombers from the Soviet Union that were later designated as the Xian H-6. In 1959, the first indigenously produced Xian H-6 conducted its maiden flight. Approximately 160 to 180 aircraft were domestically produced.

The H-6 was built as a strategic bomber, originally planned to act as a nuclear bomb deterrent which then paved the way to a more traditional bombing role due to technological advancements such as ballistic missiles launched from land or by submarine. As a result, ballistic missiles entirely abolished the need for aircraft in the dame nuclear delivery role.

Strategic bombers were popular since the First World War and needed an aircraft design with a strong built-in endurance concept that can haul thousands of pounds of ordnance over enemy territory, aiming particular enemy positions such as factories. After some time, Chinese H-6 bombers were improved to support guided missile ordnance to lengthen their functionality on the battlefield for years.

The Xian H-6 has a smooth cylindrical fuselage with an external length of 34.8 meters, a height of 10.36 meters, and a diameter of 2 meters. It has a retractable undercarriage which incorporates a two-wheeled nose leg and four-wheeled main legs. It has a wheelbase of 11.6 meters. The wide-spanning sweptback wings have a wingspan of 33 meters and a wing area of 165 square meters. It can accommodate up to four crew members.

The aircraft is powered by two Xian WP-8 turbojet engines mounted within the wing roots which produce a maximum thrust of 21,000 lbf each. It has a maximum speed of 570 knots and a travel range of 3,200 nautical miles. It can fly up to 42,000 feet and can climb at a rate of 3,600 feet per minute. The takeoff distance is 2,100 meters while the landing distance is 1,539 meters.

The Xian H-6 has a maximum takeoff weight of 79,000 kg, a maximum landing weight of 46000 kg, a maximum payload of 39,000 kg, and a fuel capacity of 12,125 gallons.

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