31 August 2017

News Story: China Modernizes Bomber Fleet, Looks to Future With H-20

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