Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force’s strategic bombers can now launch all-weather, long-range, precision strikes even if they lack stealth capability.
"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 was quoted as saying by China Daily 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.
" 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.