Chinese name: Hongzhaji-6 (Bomber aircraft 6)
TYPE: Strategic bomber.
PROGRAMME: Reports from several Chinese sources imply that China’s copy of the venerable Tu-16 ‘Badger’ remains in production or, more precisely, was returned to production in the late 1990s as a launch platform for YJ-63 (KD-63) cruise missiles - one of which is carried beneath each wing - with the designation H-6H. The first H-6H is reported to have flown in December 1998 and made the first successful air launch of a YJ-63 in November 2002. Examples have also been seen with four underwing pylons, possibly for different weapons. H-6Hs carry search radar beneath the forward fuselage, but their distinguishing feature is a semi-globular radome scabbed to the lower rear fuselage. Defensive guns have been removed. Earlier, about 10 were converted as H-6J aerial refuelling tankers.