People’s Liberation Army Air Force H-6K/N/M/HK bomber

“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, told China Daily on 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. Source

This bomber carries air-launcher cruise missiles under its wings. There are 6 hardpoints for missiles. This bomber can carry CJ-10A cruise missiles with conventional or nuclear warheads. The CJ-10 is the first long-range land attack missile, developed in China. It was specially designed to counter the US Navy’s carrier battle groups. The air-launcher CJ-10A has a range of 2 000-2 200 km. It can also carry YL-12 anti-ship missiles with a range of around 400 km. Source

H-6N ASBM carrier

It was also rumored in February 2017 that an ASBM carrier (H-6N) is being developed based on H-6K and is equipped with a nose-mounted inflight refueling probe similar to Russian Tu-95MS. A single large missile is carried externally underneath the fuselage in a semi-recessed fashion and could be a DF-21D ASBM variant (DF-21E? range >1,500km) against American aircraft carriers. H-6N is expected to have a similar combat radius of 3,500km and to be supported by the newly acquired Il-78 tanker due to its large internal fuel capacity. Source

H-6K (H-6KH?) AShM carrier variant

H-6KH can carry up to 6 YJ-12 anti-ship shells, launched a full attack on the enemy ships, for which in the body after the abdomen to add a similar KD-63 space bomb data link pod. At the same time, the H-6KH also retains the ability to carry the older YJ-83K anti-ship projectiles to better interface with the active duty equipment of the Navy.

Another major improvement of the H-6KH is the addition of a pair of pylons to the outside wing for the KG600 / 800 large-scale self-defense electric war pod. This further enhances the electronic warfare capabilities of the H-6KH, enabling it to effectively suppress enemy long-range airborne warning systems such as the E-2C AWACS, Source

YJ-12 Carrier Killer


China/U.S. Designation YJ-12
Missile Variants CM-302/CM-400AKG
Mobility and Role Anti-Ship Cruise Missile
Designer/Producer People’s Republic of China
Range 400km
Warhead Type and Weight Nuclear or Conventional/500kg
MIRV and Yield No MIRV Capability/300kt
Guidance System/Accuracy Inertial, GPS/5-7m CEP
Stages/Propellant Multistage/Solid Booster, Liquid Ramjet
IOC/Retirement 2015/Still in service
Status/Number of Units Operational/ N/A


‘World’s best’ anti-ship missile a showstopper: Here


China’s largest missile-maker is promoting what it calls “the world’s best anti-ship missile” for sales in the international market.

China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp, one of the main defense equipment suppliers in the nation, is marketing its CM-302 supersonic anti-ship cruise missile to nation shopping to improve their naval capabilities.

CM-302 is the best anti-ship missile available on the world’s arms market and “it’s not an exaggeration”, said Lyu Xiaoge, spokesman for the State-owned defense technology gianton the sidelines of the 2016 Zhuhai Airshow, which sealed 40 bln USD worth of deals.

YJ-91 anti-radiation missile Aegis destroyer killer


In 2012, Voice of Russia published a report, stating in late 1990s, Russia exported KH-31P anti-radiation missiles to China. Soon afterwards, China imported the technology and was licensed to produce such missiles. It gave the missile the codename YJ-91. Before that, China tried to produce an anti-radiation missile on its own but failed.

The new anti-radiation missile produced with licensed Russian technology becomes Chinese air force’s major weapon in breaking through enemy air defense. China has specially developed special fighter jets to carry it. For example, China’s J-8HG attack fighter-bomber. Source

The Kh-31P high-speed medium-range “air-to-surface” guided missile with changeable passive radar homing heads is designed to engage radars operating within long- and medium-range air defence missile systems, as well as other ground- and sea-based radars of different purpose, in the corresponding frequency band.

The Kh-31P missile can be efficiently launched either independently or in salvo, in fair and adverse weather conditions, to engage radar targets of opportunity or previously disclosed ones.

The missile can be equipped with changeable homing heads operating in coresponding frequency bands used by modern continuous-wave and pulsed radars of surface-to-air missile and anti-aircraft artillery systems.

The missile’s radar homing head ensures:

– target search and lock-on in the autonomous mode, or by receiving target designation data from carrier’s sensors with the missile on the aircraft suspension station;

– target tracking and missile guidance command generation.

It has a high explosive/fragmentation type of warhead.


 Launch range envelope, km  15-110
 Launch altitude envelope, m  100-15,000
 Launch speed envelope, km/h (Mach number)  600-1,250
 Max missile cruising speed, m/s  1,000
 Warhead weight, kg  87
 Missile launch weight, kg  about 600
 Missile dimensions, m:
 length  4,7
 body diameter  0,36
 wing span  0,914

*Note techincal data is of Kh-31P


CJ-10A (KD-20) anti-ship/land attack cruise missile

Variants of the CJ-10 anti-ship/land attack cruise missile can be launched from different platforms. Six are carried by Xian H-6K strategic bomber, The missile is also carried on board the Type 095 and 052D destroyers and on land-based mobile launchers. Source Asia Times

Technical specifications

Type Land attack cruise missile
Place of origin People’s Republic of China
Service history
Used by Second Artillery Corps
Production history
Manufacturer China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation/China Haiying Electro-Mechanical Technology Academy
Warhead Conventional or nuclear
>1500 km.
Type 093G submarine
Xian H-6 (CJ-20)



KD-63 land-attack cruise missile

kd63_02KD-63 TV-guided air-to-surface missile – Image:

The KD-63 relies on inertial navigation, with input of datalink command (and possibly GPS signal correction) and TV terminal guidance. The missile is fitted with a CCD camera, which transfers images of the target back to the carrier bomber. The bomber’s onboard fire-control computer then sends correction command back to the missile until it hits the target. Alternatively, the missile can be guided using a manual command to line of sight (MCLOS) method, where the weapon operator manually ‘flies’ the missile remotely to its target. The communications between the missile and the carrier bomber is via the datalink antenna located underneath the bomber’s fuselage behind the bomb bay doors.

Carrying a 500kg high-explosive (HE) warhead, the KD-63 was designed to hit large fixed land targets, such as bridges, airport, command posts, and barracks. Its TV-seeker can lock on a typical target at a distance of 12 km. The missile’s effectiveness is greatly hampered at night or in adverse weather conditions. It is also vulnerable to enemy jamming due to its dependence on the carrier aircraft for guidance command.


IOC 2004
Length 7.0 m
Diameter 0.76 m
Launch weight 2,000 kg
Warhead 500 kg HE
Propulsion FW-41B turbojet
Speed 900 km/h
Max range 180 km
Min range 20 km
Guidance Inertial + datalink command + GPS? + TV terminal
Max target detection range 18 km
Max target lock-on range 12 km
Launch altitude 200 – 5,000 m
Flight altitude 7 – 1,000 m (typical 600 m)
CEP 2 – 6 m


KD-88 TV or imagining infrared-guided missile

KD-88 air-to-surface missile is similar in concept to the U.S. AGM-84 SLAM, but is fitted with a TV-seeker which is more prone to adverse weather and enemy jammingKD-88 air-to-surface missile is similar in concept to the U.S. AGM-84 SLAM, but is fitted with a TV-seeker which is more prone to adverse weather and enemy jamming – Image:

The KD-88 (KongDi-88, official designation K/AKD88) is the land-attack version of the YJ-83K (YingJi-83K) series air-launched subsonic sea-skimming anti-ship cruise missile. It is PLA’s second-generation standoff weapon, designed for use against fixed high-value targets. The baseline version of the missile is fitted with a TV-seeker for terminal guidance, which only allows the missile to be operated in good weapon conditions in day light. Alternatively the missile could be fitted with semi-active radar or infrared imaging seekers for all-weather, day/night operation capability.

The KD-88 uses inertial navigation with datalink command and TV terminal guidanceKD-88 uses inertial navigation with datalink command and TV terminal guidance – Image:

The TV-guidance version of the missile, designated KD-88, was commissioned by the PLA around 2006. The missile uses inertial navigation system (INS) with datalink command and possibly GPS inputs for mid-course correction. The terminal guidance of the missile can be controlled either by the aircraft’s fire-control computer automatically or by the weapon operator manually. The carrier aircraft carries a targeting pod under its fuselage for receiving television images of the target from the missile and transmit guidance command back. Source

New strike capabilities of H-6K bombers: Details

A Chinese air force H-6K bomber carrying what appear to be six bombs on each of its six under-wing pylons. (Via Weibo)A Chinese air force H-6K bomber carrying what appear to be six bombs on each of its six under-wing pylons. (Via Weibo)


The development of this new variant officially started in May 2003. The #001 prototype first flew on January 5, 2007 at XAC. Two prototypes were produced (861 & 862). Its major improvement is to replace two fuel-thirsty WP-8/AM-3 turbojet engines with Russian D-30KP-2 turbofan engines (TO thrust 12,000kg, similar to the engine used by Il-76MD in service with PLAAF), resulting in a greater range (combat radius ~3,500km) and a higher cruise speed. Around 55 D-30KP-2 engines were imported from Russia between 2009-2011. As the result the engine compartment was completely redesigned and appears longer.

D-30KP-2 engine

D-30КU/КP – family of the turbofan engines for commercial and cargo / transport aircraft.
Design features
• 3 stages low pressure compressor
• 11 stages high pressure compressor
• cannular combustor (12 flame tubes)
• 2 stages high pressure turbine
• 4 stages low pressure turbine


Engine D-30КU-154 D-30КU-2 D-30КP-2
Thrust at APR*, kgf  –
Take-off thrust, kgf 10 500 11 000 12 000
Specific fuel consumption at take-off, kg/(kgf∙hr) 0.498 0.498 0.510
Specific fuel consumption at cruise, kg/(kgf∙hr)** 0.715 0.685 0.705
Bypass ratio  2.50 2.31 2.24
Dimensions (L x D), m  5.698 x 1.560 5.698 x 1.560 5.448 x 1.560

* – automatic power reserve
** – (H=11 000 m, M=0.8)


The aircraft is fitted with Russian Saturn D-30KP-2 turbofan engines. Some sources report that this engine was reverse-engineered in China. The new engines have a greater thrust. The H-6K has a greater maximum takeoff weight and payload and the previous version of the H-6. Also it seems that new aircraft has a more favorable weight-to-thrust ratio. This results in improved fuel efficiency and improved range. The bomb bay was eliminated in favor of extra fuel for a longer range. As a result the H-6K has longer range than its predecessors.

It was reported, that indigenous WS-18 engine is under development to replace the Russian D-30KP-2.

It was reported that the H-6K has a combat radius of 3 500 km. Long-range cruise missiles effectively extend the bombers range to about 4 000-5 000 km. It is enough to reach, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, Guam, Hawaii, Alaska and Moscow form Chinas mainland, without leaving air defense zone. Source

Other improvements include a redesigned solid nose housing a large ground search radar developed by the 38th Institute and a chin mounted EO turret containing FLIR, CCD TV camera and a laser designator for night/poor weather missions.


The H-6K retained the basic aerodynamic layout of the H-6/Tu-16 ‘Badger’. The original glass-in nose has been replaced by a solid nose and redesigned cockpit window (1); The air intakes have been enlarged to support the new DK-30 turbofan engines (2); There is an under-chin electro-optical turret containing FLIR and TV sensors (3); The forward-fuselage has been added with new EW/ELINT and communication antennas (4); There is a spherical radome located under the fuselage behind the bomb bay doors, possibly for data link with the KD-20 cruise missile (5); The vertical tail fin has been added with all-aspect radar warning receivers and missile approach warning system (6); There are six under-wing payload hard points for carrying the KD-20 missiles (7); The tail gun turret has been completely removed and replaced by space for additional avionics (8); EW/ECM suite including flare/chaff dispensers (9). Source

Chin mounted electro-optical turret containing FLIR and TV sensors


The aircraft also has nose mounted ECM antennas, nose and tail MAWS sensors, RWR/ECM antennas on top of the vertical tailfin, a SATCOM antenna on the top of rear fuselage, a datalink antenna underneath the rear fuselage, solid tail cone housing electronics with the tail gunner compartment removed, 6 underwing missile pylons and use of composite materials to reduce weight. Its cockpit has been completely redesigned featuring 6 color MFDs.

Datalink pod


The aircraft would carry a datalink pod under a small pylon underneath the rear fuselage


An H-6K with targeting pods, photographed by Japanese Air Self Defence Force. (Photo: Japan Ministry of Defence) via



The aircraft now has 3-member crew located in the forward cabin (two pilots+navigator/WSO), each equipped with a new ejection seat (HTY-6F) to improve survivability. Source Chinese Military Aviation

 Ejection seat (HTY-6F) during test


Entered service 2009
Crew 4 men
Dimensions and weight
Length ~ 34 m
Wing span ~ 33 m
Height ~ 10 m
Weight (empty) ~ 35 t
Weight (maximum take off) ?
Engines and performance
Engines 2 x Saturn D-30KP-2 turbofan
Traction ?
Maximum speed ?
Service ceiling ?
Ferry range ?
Range ?
Combat radius 3 500 km
Missiles 6 x CJ-10A land attack cruise missiles, YL-12 anti-ship missiles


Updated Sept 24, 2019



A PLAAF H-6M (K/JH6M?) cruise missile carrier was seen here carrying a KD-20 ALCM under its left wing. First entering service in 2007, this new variant (S/N 40x7x) were converted from the older H-6F, as its twin 23mm tailguns are retained. Similar to the naval H-6G, H-6M was modified with a large chin mounted surface search radar and two pairs of underwing pylons. Other noticeable features are the much improved self-protecting measures including UV band MAWS sensors on the nose and above the rear gunner compartment, RWR antennas on the vertical tailfin tip, and chaff/flare dispensers along the side of rear fuselage. Its cockpit was also upgraded with some analog displays replaced by color MFDs. The KD-20 ALCM is carried underneath the large inner pylon while a KG600 ECM pod is carried underneath the smaller outer pylon. A small pylon underneath the fuselage behind the bomb bay could be the place to carry additional datalink pod (for guiding the KD-63 ALCM?). The same type of ALCM is also carried by H-6K (see below). H-6M is speculated to be a low-cost, stop-gap solution until the more advanced H-6K enters PLAAF service. A recent video (February 2015) suggested that two KD-63 ALCMs could also be carried in place of KD-20. The latest image (July 2016) indicated that a dorsal SATCOM antenna has been installed on some H-6Ms. Source

Strike Radius of H-6K


Related articles:

Air force now able to launch long-range, precision strikes: Here 

Chinese Air Force Gets More H-6K Strategic Bombers: Here 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.