|A Chinese H-6 Bomber (File Photo)|
Though it has not received media attention equal to its fighter counterparts, the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) bomber fleet is steadily being modernized, and plans call for a next generation stealthy, multi-role bomber.
The Xian Aircraft Corporation (XAC) H-6K bomber proved its capabilities during the Aviadarts 2017 competition held earlier this month in China, edging out the Russian Tu-22M3/M3M Backfire in the bomber category. Chinese analysts credit the win to newer navigation systems and targeting radar, as well as rigorous aircrew training.
The PLAAF has also reportedly introduced a new imaging infrared (IIR) or optical seeker variant of the K/AKD-20/CJ-20 “Long Sword” cruise missile, which is the primary air-launched cruise missile of the H-6K. The CJ-20 is guided by an integrated GPS/inertial navigation system and terrain contour matching (TERCOM). The new seekers will ensure a higher survivability against electronic countermeasures and greater target accuracy at the terminal stage.
Enhancements to the H-6K continue; in late August, an amateur photo of a “green” H-6 with in-flight refueling probe surfaced on Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter. This could be the alleged H-6N that reportedly flew for the first time in December. Many believe the H-6N could host the air-launched DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile. The reworked airframe could have been modified and strengthened to accommodate the 11-meter missile and better shielded against radiation.
Read the full story at AINonline