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Airshow China 2022: China reveals new ALBM for H-6K bombers

An XAC H-6K bomber of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force carries a pair of the new air-launched ballistic missile at Zhuhai on 3 November. The missile has design similarities with Russia's Kinzhal hypersonic, anti-access/area-denial missile. (Chen Jimin/China News Service via Getty Images)

China has unveiled a new air-launched ballistic missile (ALBM) for use by the People's Liberation Army's (PLA's) H-6K bomber fleet.

Two of the new missiles were carried by a Xi'an Aircraft Company (XAC) H-6K bomber, which arrived in Zhuhai, in South China's Guangdong Province, on 3 November for participating in Airshow China 2022. The exhibition is scheduled to be held from 8 to 13 November.

Imagery of the H-6K bomber shows the missile loaded on the centre pylons. Janes assesses that the projectile is an air-launched hypersonic missile. The weapons system appears to be similar to the Russian Kh‐47M2 Kinzhal (AS-24 ‘Killjoy') ALBM.

However, the new Chinese missile has a sleeker nose section, an aerodynamic body with a different control tailfins design, and a change in the position of the launching lugs.

The service designation of the missile has not been disclosed. The design of the missile also has similarities to China's CM-401 supersonic, anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM). However, the new missile has several design differences. The nose profile of the missile appears to be of a higher finesse ratio (sleeker and with a sharp point) than that of the CM-401. This indicates a change in the guidance system.

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