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Long-range strategic bomber


The Chinese H-6K strategic bomber can attack priority targets in Asia

Entered service 2009
Crew 4 men
Dimensions and weight
Length ~ 34 m
Wing span ~ 33 m
Height ~ 10 m
Weight (empty) ~ 35 t
Weight (maximum take off) ?
Engines and performance
Engines 2 x Saturn D-30KP-2 turbofan
Traction ?
Maximum speed ?
Service ceiling ?
Ferry range ?
Range ?
Combat radius 3 500 km
Missiles 6 x CJ-10A land attack cruise missiles, YL-12 anti-ship missiles


   The Xian H-6K is an updated version of the H-6 medium-range bomber. It made its first flight in 2007 and entered service in 2009. Other sources report that bomber entered service in 2013. China operates at least 15 of these new bombers. Some sources report that China plans to replace the previous H-6D bombers with the new H-6Ks on a near one-to-one basis.

   The H-6K is designed for long-range attacks and stand-off attacks. It is considered as a strategic bomber. It is capable of attacking US carrier battle groups and priority targets in Asia. This aircraft has nuclear strike capability.

   The new Chinese bomber has got new engines, and carries more fuel for longer range. It has a revised forward fuselage. The nose radome was replaced with navigation cabin. Composite materials are used in construction of the bomber. As a result the bomber has a reinforced structure. The rear 23-mm guns and gunner position were replaced with electronic components. It requires a smaller crew to operate. There are ejection seats for the crew. It is believed that aircraft has significantly improved avionics, search and attack radar, navigation, fire control, and weapon precision.

   This bomber carries air-launcher cruise missiles under its wings. There are 6 hardpoints for missiles. This bomber can carry CJ-10A cruise missiles with conventional or nuclear warheads. The CJ-10 is the first long-range land attack missile, developed in China. It was specially designed to counter the US Navy's carrier battle groups. The air-launcher CJ-10A has a range of 2 000-2 200 km. It can also carry YL-12 anti-ship missiles with a range of around 400 km.

   The aircraft is fitted with Russian Saturn D-30KP-2 turbofan engines. Some sources report that this engine was reverse-engineered in China. The new engines have a greater thrust. The H-6K has a greater maximum takeoff weight and payload and the previous version of the H-6. Also it seems that new aircraft has a more favorable weight-to-thrust ratio. This results in improved fuel efficiency and improved range. The bomb bay was eliminated in favor of extra fuel for a longer range. As a result the H-6K has longer range than its predecessors.

   It was reported, that indigenous WS-18 engine is under development to replace the Russian D-30KP-2.

   It was reported that the H-6K has a combat radius of 3 500 km. Long-range cruise missiles effectively extend the bombers range to about 4 000-5 000 km. It is enough to reach, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, Guam and even Hawaii, Alaska and Moscow form Chinas mainland. Without leaving air defense zone.

   Despite all improvements this bomber is dated back to the 1950s. It seems that the H-6K is only an interim solution until an entirely new bomber is available. Some sources report that such bomber is already under development in China.






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