Navy future Maritime Patrol Aircraft Y-8FQ Cub/GX-6 has started its
flight test campaign
ASW (Anti-Submarine Warfare) variant of Y-8, the Y-8FQ Cub (also known
as GX-6 for High New 6) first surfaced on the Chinese internet in November
we reported at the time. A new picture just surfaced showing
the PLAN future Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) in flight, indicating
that flight tests for the time have already started.
The new PLAN
Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) Y-8FQ Cub/High New 6 (GX-6) during a
Y-8FQ is based on the Y-8 Transport aircraft by Shaanxi Aircraft Company,
equipped with four WJ-6C turbofan engines with 6-bladed propellers.
The tail of the plane has been modified to improve handling at low speed
and low altitude as request by Maritime Patrol Aircrafts mission profiles,
when on ASW missions. On such mission the MPA would use its MAD (Magnetic
Anomaly Detector) boom to detect submarines. This boom is clearly noticeable
at the tail of the Y-8FQ.
From the picture above, we can note that the Y-8FQ is fitted with a
chin radome probably housing some kind of maritime surveillance radar.
It is also fitted with an Optronics turret and several antennas both
at the top and at the bottom of the fuselage. Finally, note the weapon
bay doors just in front of the main landing gear, as well as the large
bulbous window at the rear for visual observation.
All in all this new
Y-8FQ Cub/High New 6 Maritime Patrol Aircraft has all the attributes
of a capable MPA like the P-3 Orion, Atlantique II or IL-38. The first
Y-8FQ MPA will likely be operated by 2nd Naval Aviation Division 6th