Xian H-8

The Xian H-8 bomber was a Chinese military aircraft and a possible successor to the aging twin-engined H-6 jet bomber. The prototype was reported to be an enlarged H-6 with underwing engines, but the project was canceled in the early 1970s before the bomber went into production.

Xian H-8
Class Aircraft
Type Bomber
Manufacturer Xi'an Aircraft Industrial Corporation
Origin China
Country Name Origin Year
China 1978
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Xi'an Aircraft Industrial Corporation View

Originally proposed by Xi'an Aircraft Factory in June 1970 as a 4-engined version of Xian H-6, design begun in February 1971 after the proposal was granted by the state. In 1973, People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) issued additional requirement of incorporating capability against sea targets, and formally joint the project. By the end of 1977, the first sample was completed and the maiden flight was followed in January 1978.

The aircraft was able to climb 40% faster than H-6, and the range is also increased by a third to 8,000 km. More weapons could be carried, including bombs of various sizes, sizing from 100 kg to the massive 9-ton ones. The bomb bay was sized at 8.6 meter x 1.8 meter x 2.72 meter, capable of holding a maximum of 18 tons of ordnance, i.e. 2 of the 9-ton bombs, though to achieve maximum range, the payload had to be greatly reduced to 7 tons. Nuclear bombs could also be carried, as well as anti-ship and land attack missiles, and in the latter configuration, a total 3 missiles are carried, one under each wing, and a third semi-buried in the bomb bay. The permanent weapon of the aircraft is a tail gun mount incorporating a twin 23 mm gun.

The crew totaled 6, seated in two separate pressurized compartments. Pilot/mission commander, co-pilot/flight engineer, navigator/observer, and bombardier/flight mechanic were seated in the forward pressurized compartment, while the electronics warfare/communication officer and tail gunner/assistant communication officer seated in the pressurized compartment in the rear. The avionics of the aircraft borrowed heavily from the reverse engineering similar American systems obtained from the downed Boeing B-52 and other American aircraft provided by North Vietnam during the Vietnam War.

Role Strategic bomber
National origin People's Republic of China
Manufacturer Xi'an Aircraft Industrial Corporation
First flight 1978 (H-6I demonstrator)
Unflown (H-8)
Status Cancelled
Primary user People's Liberation Army Air Force
Developed from Xian H-6

General characteristics

  • Crew: 6
  • Length: 48.50 meters
  • Wingspan: 46.47 meters
  • Height: 13.85 meters
  • Wing area: 293 m²
  • Empty weight: 63,000 kg
  • Loaded weight: 145,000 kg
  • Max. takeoff weight: 163,000 kg
  • Powerplant: 4 × Shenyang WS-6J turbofans


  • Maximum speed: 1,000 km/h
  • Cruise speed: 800 km @ low & medium altitude, > 850 km @ high altitude
  • Range: 8,100 km with 7 ton payload
  • Combat radius: 5,000 km
  • Ferry range: 11,000 km
  • Service ceiling: 14,000 m


  • Guns:
    2× NR-23 cannons in manned tail turret
  • Missiles:
    KD-88 missile (anti-ship or air-to-surface)
    C-601 anti-ship missile
    YJ-62 (C-602) anti-ship missile
    C-301 anti-ship missile
    C-101 anti-ship missile
  • Bombs: 18,000 kg (40,000 lb) of free-fall weapons

End notes