(Source: China Daily) 2015-10-14
Air force now able to launch long-range, precision strikes
A PLA Air Force H-6K bomber conducts a training flight in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, in August. [Photo/Xinhua]
The strategic bombers of the People's Liberation Army Air Force can now launch all-weather, long-range, precision strikes, military observers said.
"The fact that our H-6K bombers have performed several long-distance drills far into the Pacific Ocean indicates that the H-6K fleet has become capable of conducting various operations such as long-range precision strikes," Fu Qianshao, an aviation equipment expert with the PLA Air Force, told China Daily on Tuesday.
"In the past, our bombers could only deliver airdropped bombs and so were unable to conduct precision attacks, but the H-6K, with the adoption of some of our most advanced aeronautic technologies, is able to carry and launch air-to-surface cruise missiles and anti-ship missiles, which means it can take out multiple targets on the ground or at sea within one mission," he said.
Such capability is indispensable for any air force if it wants to perform strategic missions, Fu said.
"The PLA has defined its air force as a strategic force and pledged to obtain offensive capability for it. An air force with strategic aspirations must be able to perform long-range precision strike operations, so the H-6K is undoubtedly a valuable asset to the PLA Air Force," he added.
His remarks came as PLA Daily reported that H-6Ks from a bomber unit under the Guangzhou Military Command flew several thousand kilometers to an unidentified airspace during a recent exercise and destroyed multiple targets using precision weapons.
The bombers used sophisticated maneuvers and tactics to break through the "enemy defense" and overcame bad weather and the "enemy's electromagnetic blockage", the report said.
The bomber unit is the first to use the H-6K and has flown out of the "first island chain" several times this year to perform long-range drills, according to the newspaper.
PLA military theorists refer to two island "chains" as forming a geographic basis for China's maritime defensive perimeter. The precise boundaries of these chains have never been officially defined by the Chinese government.
By commonly accepted definitions, the first island chain refers to a series of islands stretching from Japan in the north to the Philippines in the south. The second island chain runs from the Bonin Islands in the north and moves southward through the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam and the Caroline Islands.
H-6K is the latest variant of the H-6 bomber and possibly the only one in the five-decade-old family that can be defined as a genuine strategic bomber. The original H-6 was developed based on the Soviet-era Tu-16 Badger, which was designed in the 1950s and retired by Russia in the early 1990s.
"Even though the plane lacks stealth capacity, it still can carry out long-range strikes thanks to the capability of launching airborne cruise missiles," he said.
Monday, March 30, 2015
H-6K conducted its first long-range maritime strike exercise in the West Pacific
(Source: China Military Online) 2015-03-30
BEIJING, March 30 (ChinaMil) -- In order to promote its maneuvering combat capability, the Air Force of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLAAF) for the first time organized its aviation troops to go to the airspace above the West Pacific Ocean to carry out military training, Shen Jinke, spokesman of the PLA Air Force, said in south China’s Guangzhou province on March 30, 2015.
The warplanes of the PLA Air Force flew to the West Pacific for training via the Bashi Channel on March 30 and returned on the same day after finishing the training and achieving the given goal, according to Shen.
Training in the airspace far from China is an effective way for the PLA Air Force to temper its combat capability and also a common practice of world powers' air forces, Col. Shen said.
Shen said that the military training in the airspace above the Western Pacific by the PLA Air Force is a routine arrangement of the annual training plan for the PLA Air Force and also a normal requirement of China's national defense construction.
Shen pointed out that this training by the PLA Air Force complies with relevant international laws and practices, is not aimed at any country or target and poses no threat to any country or region.
Monday, January 05, 2015
Photo of the day: The aggressor H-6K practicing a low-level penetration bomb run against a PLAAF anti-defense brigade during a confrontational drill
The other H-6K unit is the PLAAF 10th bomber division
Sunday, November 17, 2013
PLAAF "in the news" of the day: H-6K, god-of-war (small g)
By Chen Boyuan
China.org.cn, June 22, 2013
The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force recently received 15 H-6K bombers with nuclear capabilities, according to British military digest Jane’s Defence Weekly.
The H-6K, an updated version of the H-6 bomber, is a medium-sized craft designed for long-range attacks, stand-off attacks and large-area air patrol. Unlike its predecessor, the H-6K can carry cruise missiles under its wings. The H6-K also maneuvers more deftly than the H-6 and requires a smaller crew to operate. Jane’s Defence was the first media outlet to confirm that the H6-K had formally entered active service.
The most visible departure from the H-6 is the H6-K’s nose, where a nose randome has replaced a navigation cabin. Military expert Fu Qianshao said that the H6-K’s nose should greatly improve avionics, search and detection, navigation, fire control and weapon precision.
Fu said that the H-6K has a larger engine inlet than does the H-6, which may mean that the newer bomber’s engines have greater thrust. If so, the H-6K would also have a greater maximum takeoff weight and payload than the H-6. A more favorable weight-to-thrust ratio would improve fuel efficiency and lengthen cruising range, Fu said.
H-6K reportedly has a combat radius of 3,500 KM. The nuclear-capable Changjian (long sword)-10 cruise missiles it carries have a range of 1,500-2,000 KM, effectively extending the bomber’s combat range to 4,000-5,000 KM - long enough to reach Okinawa, Guam and even Hawaii from China’s mainland.
Analysts stipulated that PLA Air Force missiles be able to reach Taiwan, southwestern Japan and Guam, a range of control that requires a 3,000-KM combat radius and powerful attack capability. Only the combined combat radii of the H6-K and Changjian-10 currently satisfy the length requirement.