Chinese air force pilots of Sukhoi Su-35 and Su-30 fighter jets and H-6K bombers conducted combat exercises over the western Pacific Ocean and South China Sea recently, local media reports.
According to spokesman, Senior Colonel Shen Jink, the People's Liberation Army Air Force conducted the exercises in two groups. The first group of aircraft including H-6K bombers and Su-30 fighter jets flew over the Miyako Strait earlier last week and then carried out combat training over the western Pacific to verify their long-range operational capabilities, China Military Online quoted Colonel Jink as saying.
Another group of H-6Ks, Su-35 fighter jets and other aircraft conducted a joint combat patrol over the South China Sea, practicing aerial maneuvers and strike tactics at sea, he said in a statement published by the Air Force.
A news release published by Japan's Joint Staff on Friday said that in addition to bombers and fighter jets the Chinese Air Force had dispatched a Tupolev Tu-154 signal intelligence jet and a Y-8 electronic warfare aircraft to participate in the western Pacific training exercise.
The PLA Air Force has become adept at organizing sophisticated joint operations and is able to safeguard the country's sovereignty, national security and interests, Shen said.
Earlier in February, the PLA Air Force had sent its Su-35s took part in exercises over the South China Sea.
Fu Qianshao, an expert from the PLA Air Force, said that ocean-bound exercises verify not only the Air Force's long-distance combat capability, but also its logistics support and electronic warfare abilities.
According to the Air Force, China is developing a new-generation strategic bomber that will be much stronger than the H-6K. Analysts believe the new aircraft will have a range of at least 10,000 km, enough to perform intercontinental missions.