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MILAVIA > Aircraft > Q-5/A-5 Last updated: 27 May 2007
Q-5/A-5 'FANTAN'


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Nanchang (NAMC) Q-5/A-5 'Fantan'

Role: ground attack, close air support
Builder: Nanchang (NAMC), Hongdu (HAIG)
Variants: Q-5, Q-5A, Q-5B, Q-5I, Q-5IA, Q-5II, Q-5III (A-5C), A-5M, JQ-5J
Operators: China, Bangladesh, Myanmar, North Korea, Pakistan, Sudan

The Q-5, NATO reporting name Fantan, is a single-seat supersonic attack aircraft designed by China. It is designed to fly low and super low combat missions in support to ground forces attacking concentrated targets at land. It is also can be used against ships near the coast and has a limited air-to-air capability. Its simple design and low cost has led to some export succes.

A small number of aircraft were modified to carry nuclear weapons designated Q-5A. The Q-5B was equipped with a Doppler radar in a reshaped nose and was capable of carrying two torpedos for maritime strike missions. Q-5I was the first improvement of the Q-5 design. The internal bomb bay was deleted in favour of more internal fuel storage to extend the aircraft's range. The landing gear was strengthened and two extra hardpoints were fitted. Some of the Q-5I aircraft for the Navy were fitted with Doppler radar making it capable of using the C-801 Anti-Ship Missile.

The Q-5IA is an upgraded Q-5I featuring two extra underwing hardpoints and a new gun/bomb-sighting system. Later RWR was added which resulted in the Q-5II. The Q-5IA was further enhanced and offered for export designated A-5C (Q-5III). The A-5C incorporated many modifications including upgraded avionics and AIM-9 Sidewinder AAM capability.

Q-5K is an upgraded version based on the Q-5II featuring Western avionics such as laser rangefinder, INS, and HUD systems from Thomson-CSF. Development of the Q-5II in cooperation with Italy's aircraft builder Alenia led to the all-weather Q-5M/A-5M incorporating the nav/attack system from the AMX aircraft and has more powerful engines. But both programs were cancelled before production began.

The latest derivative of the Q-5 is the two-seat JQ-5J version developed by Hongdu Aviation Industry Group (HAIG). It was first revealed to the public in the form of a model at the Zhuhai Air Show in December 2004. In addition to the redesigned front fuselage the aircraft features a larger vertical tail. The first prototype JQ-5J made its maiden flight on 25 February 2005.

The PLAAF had previously trained its Q-5 pilots on the two-seat JJ-6, the arrival of the specialised two-seat version might suggest that China plans to upgrade its Q-5 attack aircraft with modern weapons and sensors.

Sources:
- Webpages, see related links
- Air Forces Monthly 2005 - January, July, August
- Munro, B., Chant, C., Collins Jane's Combat Aircraft, Harper Collins, Glasgow, 1999.





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