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Eastern Order of Battle

Chinese Wuhan Military Region’s
Air Force in the eighties

Chinese high altitude day interceptor Shenyang J-6II interceptor

The most modern type of Chinese Wuhan MR's Air Force was the J-6 (MiG-19) 'Farmer' fighter type in the eighties. This picture was taken about the 18th Air Division's J-6II high altitude day interceptor.

The Chinese Wuhan Military Region Air Force was created in July 1955 from the merger of the Xinan MR’s Air Force and PLAAF’s Guangzhou Command Post, covering Henan and Hubei province.

Wuhan Military Region Air Force became the second line military unit at the end of the seventies.

Its three subordinate air divisions were equipped with older MiG-15 'Fagot', Shenyang J-5 (MiG-17) 'Fresco', Shenyang J-6 (MiG-19) 'Farmer' fighter and Harbin H-5 (IL-28) 'Beagle' front bombers which were designed in the Soviet Union between the 40s and 50s.

The divisions had only a little combat experience. The 18th Air Division damaged a USAF F-105 Thunderchief fighter bomber aircraft in 1966, and later shot down a US NAVY A-6A Intruder bomber in 1967, and two USAF AQM-34 reconnaissance drone in the middle of sixties in Guangxi province. The 27th Air Division moved to the Vietnam border in 1979 and participated in the Sino-Vietnamese War with MiG-17 'Fresco-A' fighter type.

In 1979 at Changsa airport one Shenyang J-5 MiG-17F Fresco-C dog fight fighter which belonged to the 18th Air Division. Photo: Robert Setterfield

In 1979 at Changsa airport one Shenyang J-5 (MiG-17F) 'Fresco-C' ‘dogfights’ fighter which belonged to the 18th Air Division. Photo: Robert Setterfield

The Chinese 48th Bomber Division’s Harbin H-5 IL-28 Beagle front bombers while doing a demonstrative bombing exercise.

The Chinese 48th Bomber Division’s Harbin H-5 (IL-28) 'Beagle' front bombers while doing a demonstrative bombing exercise. The 48th Bomber Division established in 1971.

 

PLAAF Wuhan Military Region Air Force map
Chinese Wuhan Military Region Air Force Order of Battle

* Clarification is needed.
** The 27th Air Division transformed into a Training Base in 1988

 

 The 13th Transport Air Division’s US-made Curtiss C-46 cargo aircraft in 1979 at Changsha airport. Photo: Robert Setterfield

Chinese 13th Transport Air Division’s older Soviet-made Ilyushin Il-14 ‘Crate’ airliner.

One more cargo unit – 13th Transport Air Division - was settled at the Wuhan Military Region area. The division was the direct subordinate of China People’s Liberation Army Air Force headquarter with old Soviet Lisunov Li-2, Ilyushin Il-14, and Curtis C-46 Commando transport aircraft. They replaced the old piston engines types remained from the Second World War at the beginning of the 80s to Soviet-made Antonov An-26 transport aircraft.

The 13th Transport Air Division supported the local Chinese 15th Airborne Corps.

Chinese An-26 Curl

The China bought forty An-26 ‘Curl’ cargo aircraft between 1974 and 1979 from the Soviet Union.

In September 1985, the Wuhan Military Region's Air Force was abolished and replaced by the Wuhan Command Post. Forces in Henan province were transferred to the Junan Military Region's Air Force, and those in Hubei province were subordinated to the Guangzhou MR's Air Force.