The main mission objective of China's H-6K bomber is to strike key strategic points deep within enemy territories, the state broadcaster revealed, leading experts to predict that the warplane could eventually be armed with hypersonic weapons that can destroy hostile military hubs 3,000 kilometers away within minutes.
Together with J-20 stealth fighters, H-6Ks could devastate the enemy's fighting capability even before a war gets fully underway, analysts said.
"In a war, our main objective is to launch attacks on an enemy's deep and vital positions, paralyzing their facilities. This is what we especially excel at," said H-6K pilot Li Ping, China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Tuesday.
While the H-6K is not a stealth warplane, nor does it have outstanding speed to penetrate deep into hostile territory, it is equipped with very advanced weapons including air-launched cruise missiles, enabling it to attack targets far away, Wang Ya'nan, chief editor of Aerospace Knowledge magazine, told the Global Times on Tuesday.
"The H-6K can remain within a safe zone, launch its missiles that can reach targets 2,000 kilometers away," Wang said, noting that these missiles are difficult to intercept due to their stealth capabilities.
"With China developing hypersonic weapons [missiles that fly at least five times the speed of sound] in recent years, its attack range and speed could become even greater than a conventional cruise missile, potentially capable of taking out targets deep within hostile territories 3,000 kilometers away within just a few minutes," Wang predicted.
Assuming each H-6K can carry six missiles, 10 bombers can attack as many as 60 vital military hubs, which could destroy the enemy, he said.
CCTV also reported that the Air Force's J-20 fighter jets have been conducting full-scale, beyond-visual-range aerial combat exercises.
The J-20 could partner with the H-6K and clear the sky by shooting down hostile aerial hubs such as early warning aircraft and tanker aircraft, while the H-6K will scorch land hubs such as command centers and missile positions, according to Wang.
The H-6Ks are undergoing frequent training under combat scenarios together with early warning aircraft and fighter jets, CCTV reported.
In 2018, the munitions the H-6Ks used in exercises were multiple times greater than in past years, the report said.