Military Review

The first Chinese seaplane - SH-5 multipurpose amphibian

The main purpose of SH-5 is to solve search and rescue tasks, counter enemy submarines, bombard surface ships, mine a given area, as well as destroy ground targets, deliver various cargo, airborne troops, and conduct photo and radio intelligence. In addition to the multipurpose amphibian, it is known about the development of the SH-5 seaplane for fire safety.

The first Chinese seaplane - SH-5 multipurpose amphibian

In 1950, the Soviet Union supplied the Be-6 seaplanes to China. It was the only aircraft of this type used in the Armed Forces of China. After 15, the use of the Be-6 is completely outdated, and China decides to start developing its own seaplane. China of that time was not distinguished by any technical or scientific basis, the creation of aircraft, like many high-tech developments, was not the strength of the defense industry.

In the second half of the 1960-s, the design and development of a new seaplane began. The main developer is the design bureau of the Harbin plant and the scientific research institute of hydroaviation. The military needed a multi-purpose seaplane equipped with powerful and economical engines of turboprop execution. He was supposed to replace the seaplane "Be-6". The multipurpose seaplane is called SH-5, which means "sea bomber model 5".

A seaplane with an airborne number 01 in an incomplete configuration (hull) was used to conduct static tests during the 1970-1974 period. As previously noted, China has embarked on a new development path, experiencing an acute shortage of trained specialists and designers, so the first prototype SH-5 was built by the end of the 1973 of the year, it received the airborne No. 02. The first Chinese seaplane was able to fly into the sky in the spring 1976 of the year. And the main tests of the seaplane were completed in the 1985 year. They took part 6 multipurpose naval bombers.

After testing, four out of six aircraft (airborne No. 04, 05, 06, 07) are transferred to sea aviation China in September 1986. An interesting feature is the significant differences between the prototypes and those adopted for seaplanes. The main place of basing is the airfields of Quingdao and Tuandao. According to available information, in 1999 the Chinese Navy consisted of 7 SH-5 flying boats. Today it is known about three SH-5 seaplanes in operation for search and rescue operations and one seaplane (board number 06) for ensuring the PS-5 fire safety.

Device and design Harbin SH-5
Chinese designers did not go far in construction from the Soviet predecessor - the Be-6 seaplane. Parts from the Y-8 transporter (analogue of An-12) were also used. The Chinese seaplane has the same aerodynamic configuration of a high wing with a straight wing. The base is a boat ending in a long tail and plumage. To control the flying amphibian on the water surface, the steering wheel is installed on the base of the boat. The stability of the aircraft on the water is provided by the wing floats of a non-removable design, they are installed on N-shaped struts.

There are also noticeable differences in the performance of a seaplane, which ultimately made it look like the Soviet "Be-12" and Japanese "Shin Meiwa US-1A":
- the cockpit got a teardrop shape;
- the nose radome of the radar antenna is made as for the Be-12 seaplane;
- chassis aircraft retractable type.

The landing gear of the Chinese designers used the standard tricycle. The front desk is two-wheeled, the main - one-wheeled. Rack chassis got pneumatic oil shock absorbers. The nose post after take-off folds forward, the main - with a turn in the niche of the boards. The peculiarity of the Chinese chassis performance becomes a small clearance when taking off / landing from the water surface.

As ordered by the customer, flying amphibious equip powerful engines WJ-5А1 "Dong". These engines are analogous to the Soviet AI-24. Four turboprop engines provide the aircraft with an 12600 horsepower. Three cargo compartments are made in the bow of the boat hull. The middle part is the search equipment compartments, radio communications and hardware compartments. The central compartment is the operator compartment, where the operator’s 3 is located that manages the onboard equipment. All internal compartments are connected by a corridor, the compartments are blocked by waterproof doors. The on-board equipment includes: inertial navigation system, radio compass, magnetic anomaly detection detector, radio altimeter, Doppler radar search. The full crew is an 8 man consisting of a commander, co-pilot, navigator, on-board engineer, radio operator and technician operators.

The armament of the seaplane SH-5 consists of:
- remote double-barreled gun installation caliber 23mm "Type 23-1";
- anti-ship missiles such as C-101;

- small anti-submarine torpedoes;
- depth bobms / mines of different caliber;
- discharged equipment for providing radiohydroacoustics;
- rescue / emergency equipment.

The total payload of a multipurpose seaplane is six tons. It is installed on four nodes under the wing and is located in the aft compartment. For example, on a combat patrol, a multipurpose seaplane takes off armed with 2 anti-ship missiles C-101 and 6 torpedoes on external and internal pylons, ammunition charge of bombs / min

Variants of execution:
- 01 - pre-production prototype. Used for static tests;
- 02-03 - pre-production prototypes. Used for flight tests;
- 04-07 - serial prototypes. Put into service.

- SH-5 - multi-purpose (basic version) seaplane;
- SH-5A - some of the serial prototypes were converted to conduct electronic intelligence;
- SH-5B (PS-5) - fire seaplane. Converted onboard number 06, payload - 8000 kilogram of water.

Key Features:
- Length - 38.9 meters;
- height - 9.8 meters;
- wing - 36 meters;
- weight empty / normal / max - 25 / 36 / 45 tons;
- fuel supply - 13.4 tons;
- engine - four theaters Wojiang-5A1;
- total power - HP 12600;
- speed cruiser / max - 450 / 555 km / h;
- range to 4750 kilometers;
- flight time not more than 15 hours;
- High-altitude ceiling - kilometer 10.2;
- combat load / max - 6000 / 10000 kilogram;
- armament - anti-ship missiles, torpedoes, mines, bombs, additional equipment.

The fate of the SH-5 multipurpose seaplane
The seaplane did not wait for serial production, apparently, this was hampered by significant deficiencies in the onboard equipment, which did not ensure the design characteristics of the search and destruction of surface and submarine ships. By the way, PKR "C-101" also did not go into mass production for similar technical reasons.

The operated seaplanes are currently used in the “PLA Navy North Sea Fleet” on the Qingdao seaplane special base. The main purpose is marine patrols.

Information sources:

China Air Force Museum Harbin SH-5


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  1. Brother Sarych
    Brother Sarych 29 November 2012 09: 29
    An interesting design - even then the Chinese themselves tried to create new cars! You can, of course, snort, they say, what’s wrong with that, but this machine completed the test almost 30 years ago! And it was created at all 40 years ago ...
  2. snek
    snek 29 November 2012 10: 01
    The fact that in the "fun" times of the Cultural Revolution, China was able to create such a machine is quite impressive.
  3. El13
    El13 29 November 2012 17: 23
    Just cut me, but I don’t believe that the Be-12 has anything to do with it ... feel
  4. crambol
    crambol 29 November 2012 18: 27
    And what’s interesting is that their technique is criticized, and they spit on everyone and do it, creating a scientific and technical SCHOOL. And we, having lost everything, criticize, and practically cannot create - the main schools are lost.
  5. EW
    EW 30 November 2012 04: 09
    Not in the subject, but I remembered a Soviet joke: "News. The first space rocket exploded in China. One cosmonaut and seven hundred stokers were killed."
  6. bddrus
    bddrus 30 November 2012 05: 21
    the Chinese can’t show anything at all! :)
  7. Johnagle
    Johnagle 30 November 2012 19: 32
    and what kind of 4-engine stands behind him in the pictures in the museum?
    1. Thunderbolt
      Thunderbolt 1 December 2012 00: 47
      douglas dc-8-2 flying ophthalmology laboratory
  8. Alex 241
    Alex 241 1 December 2012 01: 08
    Hi Lesh, especially for you, as a connoisseur.
  9. Thunderbolt
    Thunderbolt 1 December 2012 01: 10
    and this is LI-2. Mao Zedong flew on it
  10. Alex 241
    Alex 241 1 December 2012 01: 31
    hold Lesh R-40

    Well, here you just have to look

    something is buggy, here is the video.
  11. Thunderbolt
    Thunderbolt 1 December 2012 01: 35
    a lot of things also depend on the pilot.
  12. Alex 241
    Alex 241 1 December 2012 01: 38
    Lesh who would argue
  13. Thunderbolt
    Thunderbolt 1 December 2012 01: 51
    the main thing is to find a girlfriend faithful, everything else is bullshit laughing
    1. v53993
      v53993 1 December 2012 02: 20
      And if she still improves aerodynamics, then she generally has no price.
  14. Alex 241
    Alex 241 1 December 2012 01: 57
    interesting topic good
  15. Alex 241
    Alex 241 1 December 2012 02: 07
    interesting topic

    here they are future eagles.
    1. v53993
      v53993 1 December 2012 02: 16
      I like it. Like a blonde fly.

      The duckling is cute, and most importantly, bold. Not like the current witch in power.
  16. Johnagle
    Johnagle 1 December 2012 12: 48
    Well, here you lit the topic :)
    and the sound of piston rods is something ... music ...
  17. bart74
    bart74 2 December 2012 23: 45
    I will not rejoice for the Chinese, as well as believe that the SH-5 is a completely Chinese development
  18. Thunderbolt
    Thunderbolt 2 December 2012 23: 55
    it would be foolish to rejoice, but taking into account their potential for Russia is vital.