Xian H-6 (tanker variants)

Although the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) has always been a powerful force equipped with a large number of aircraft, it was not until the late 1980s when the doctrine was changed from “purely defensive” to an “offensive defensive” doctrine. To do this, they needed to be able to increase the combat radius of their fighter aircraft, so they decided to begin a program to build in-flight refueling aircraft. After contacts with foreign companies, it was finally decided to use the Xian H-6 bombers as a base to develop an indigenous tanker aircraft. In this way, in 1990 the Xian HY-6U, also called H-6U, emerged. The first successful aerial refueling operation took place in 1993 and these aircraft subsequently entered service in limited numbers, mainly to support the Shenyang J-8-II, J-8C and J-8D Finback fighter fleet. Subsequently, several variants have been manufactured for the Air Force and Naval Aviation, of which the HY-6U (H-6U) and the H-6DU remain in service.

H-6 (tanker variants) gallery and more info


Información adicional

Ficha Completa
Country of origin



Xian Aircraft Industrial Corporation


Tanker aircraft

Entered service




Combat weight

75,800 kg

Dimensions (length x wingspan x height)

34.80 x 33.00 x 10.35 meters

Wing area

164.65 m2

Power plant

2 x Xian Wopen WP8 turbojets, 93.17 kN dry thrust each

Power, (total)

186.34 kN (99,505 hp)


Max. 1,014 km/h – Cruise 786 km/h

Climb rate

1,140 meters per minute

Ceiling, (maximum)

13,000 meters


6,000 km

Combat radius

2,200 km

Load capacity

18,500 kg of fuel


About 20 of all variants