Harbin H-5 at the Romanian Bacau Air Base

The Chinese company Harbin Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation (HAMC) was formed in 1952. It started to produce a number of aircraft, initially under license from Russia, later they reverse engineered their own copies of Russian aircraft from 1966. One of these was the Harbin H-5 which was based on the Ilyushin Il-28 ‘Beagle’ a light bomber. The Romanian Air Force received at least 23 of these aircraft from 1971, naming their examples Hong-5’s. The RoAF had operated a few original IL-28’s from the middle 1950’s. The Hong-5’s were in service with 38 Reconnaissance Squadron (Escadrila 38 Reconuastere) from Air Base 86 at Borcea-Fetesti from 2000. With just three aircraft operational the type was retired, the last flight was on August 26, 2001 when flying with the renumbered Escadrila 862 Reconuastere. The HJ-5 variant was a two-seat training aircraft. It had a modified nose, the student was seated in the front cockpit. Towards the end of their operations some were modified for target towing duties. Major overhauls were carried out by Aerostar at Bacău.

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