June 20, 2010:
China has officially retired that last of its J-6 jet fighters. Actually, the last ones retired were the JJ-6, which was used to test new equipment for other aircraft. This is a Chinese built copy of the Russian MiG-19 (2,200 built). Over 3,000 J-6s were built, and over five hundred were exported. Pakistan retired the last of its J-6s eight years ago, but Iran, Myanmar and North Korea still have some in use. The J-6 was always an inexpensive jet fighter alternative for less wealthy nations, including China. The J-6 was a 7.5 ton, single engine, single seat aircraft with a max speed of 1,500 kilometers an hour. Only carried a half ton of bombs and was designed over 60 years ago. Five years ago, China had about 300 J-6s in service, and has been phasing them out ever since. Most were retired in the 1990s. China redesigned the MiG-19 in the 1960s, to produce the Q-5 ground attack aircraft. About a thousand were built, and some are still in service.