China’s H-6N strategic bomber boasting of aerial refuelling capabilities participated in the National Day parade for the first time in Beijing on Tuesday.
Aside of the H-6N, H-6K variant also took part at the Tuesday event. An echelon consisting of three H-6N and six H-6K bombers flew over Tian'anmen Squar, Xinhuanet reported.
The bombers are under the command of a division of the aviation forces of the People's Liberation Army's air force that has carried out many major missions, including air-dropping atomic and hydrogen bombs.
The H-6K entered service with the Chinese military in 2009. It is a significant redesign from the original Xian H-6 aircraft (the country’s license-built version of Tupolev Tu-16 twin-engine jet bomber) optimized as a carrier for long-range anti-ship and land-attack cruise missiles. The H-6N is a further outgrowth of this earlier missile carrier version, The Drive writes.
The most notable change between the N and K variants is the complete elimination of the bomb bay on the N and the addition of semi-recessed area with a hard point for a large missile. This is similar in some general respects to the ability of Russia's Tu-22M Backfire bombers can carry a single Kh-22 or Kh-32 anti-ship cruise missile in a semi-recessed mount under its central fuselage.