BEIJING – New enhancements will allow the Chinese strategic bomber to overcome its former maximum range by using cruise missiles and supersonic drones.
According to sources from the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF), the strategic bomber Xian H-6N should have a supersonic version, in addition to removing the bomb compartment and adding an air refueling system.
With that, the aircraft would gain supersonic capabilities making the equipment even more lethal, with a range of up to six thousand kilometers.
Earlier, a source told the South China Morning Post that the Chinese bomber would now be able to carry the CJ-100 supersonic cruise missile and WZ-8 supersonic stealth drone after eliminating the bomb bay.
The semi-boxed area under the H-6N’s fuselage is designed to carry both the WZ-8 and CJ-100, the military explained.
According to experts Antoine Bondaz and Stéphane Delory, the WZ-8 drone could allow Beijing to develop its conventional attack strategies for models far more advanced than currently available, even in the US.
The CJ-100, or DF-100, missiles have a range of 2,000 kilometers and have therefore been dubbed “hypermatists.” In addition, they were primarily designed to attack large warships and various ground targets.
The range of the CJ-100 combined with the new in-flight refueling system would allow the bomber to fly over 4,000 kilometers, totaling an attack range of approximately 6,000 kilometers.
Although PLAAF has not confirmed the new specifications, it is assumed that the bomber is still able to carry a wide range of other large munitions, including nuclear warheads.
China’s Xian H-6K heavy bombers, a highly modernized and licensed Chinese copy of the Soviet Tu-16, are expected to be armed with Chinese hypersonic weapons, the Global Times reported.
According to the newspaper, the bomber class, which already has nuclear attack capability and is capable of carrying both anti- ship and ground attack cruise missiles, will likely be equipped with the hypersonic missiles currently being tested, which would will allow them to devastate the enemy’s combat capability even before the war is fully underway.
The missiles, according to the Global Times, will be able to destroy enemy infrastructure up to 3,000 kilometers away in just a few minutes, which theoretically means that an H-6K flying somewhere in the East China Sea could easily attack Guam, while a bomber flying over Beijing-claimed territories in the South China Sea could strike northern Australia if necessary.