skip to main content

PLANAF deploys H-6J in mine-laying, bombing drills in South China Sea

The People's Liberation Army Navy Air Force's (PLANAF's) Xi'an Aircraft Corporation H-6J long-range strategic bombers have been recently spotted carrying out sea mine-laying and bombing drills as part of a live-fire exercise in the South China Sea.

According to video footage released by the state-owned China Central Television (CCTV) on 3 December, several aircraft took off at night and arrived at the designated area in the South China Sea at dawn, where they practised laying sea mines and dropping bombs on targets located on islands and reefs.

The aircraft carried out two waves of bombing, and were refuelled and resupplied with munitions between the two sorties at Guiping Mengshu Air Base, according to the CCTV report.

The video also shows at least one H-6J carrying YJ-12 supersonic anti-ship cruise missiles under its wings, besides the sea mines and bombs carried in its belly, thus confirming that the aircraft can perform both traditional bomber tasks and stand-off long-range maritime strike roles.

According to Janes' past reports, the H-6J can carry up to six missiles on its underwing pylons. Besides the Y-12J, which is understood to have a range of about 500 km, the aircraft can be armed with the radar-guided, 180 km-range YJ-83K anti-ship missile. The H-6J is also equipped with two large electronic countermeasures (ECM) pods underneath its outer wings, which are likely used to suppress enemy air-defence systems and ensure anti-ship missiles are successfully launched on their naval target.

The H-6J aircraft that took part in the exercise are in service with the 5th Independent Regiment at Guiping Mengshu Air Base under the PLA Southern Theatre Command, according to Janes World Navies

Looking to read the full article?

Gain unlimited access to Janes news and more...