China lands, launches nuclear-strike capable bomber in South China Sea facility

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A video of Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force landing and launching H-6K, a nuclear strike capable strategic bomber, on an unspecified island in South China Sea was released by Chinese media People’s Daily.

“A division of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) recently organised multiple bombers such as the H-6K to conduct take-off and landing training on islands and reefs in the South China Sea in order to improve our ability to ‘reach all territory, conduct strikes at any time and strike in all directions’,” the PLA Air Force said as quoted by international media.

Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (AMTI-CSIS) said the base H-6 aircraft’s combat radius of nearly 1000 nautical miles means even China’s basic bombers taking off from Woody Island could cover the entire South China Sea.

“Nearly all of the Philippines falls within the radius of the bombers, including Manila and all five Philippine military bases earmarked for development under the U.S.-Philippines Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement,” AMTI-CSIS noted. “An H-6K, with its technical upgrades giving it a combat radius of nearly 1900 nautical miles, would dwarf this radius, putting all of Southeast Asia in range of flights from Woody Island.”

“Future deployments to the Big 3 in the Spratlys would bring Singapore and much of Indonesia within range of even China’s lower-end bombers, while the H-6Ks could reach northern Australia or U.S. defense facilities on Guam,” AMTI-CSIS said.

Sources: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/19/china-says-air-force-lands-bombers-on-south-china-sea-islands; https://amti.csis.org/china-lands-first-bomber-south-china-sea-island/