China is developing a next-generation strategic bomber, the People's Liberation Army Air Force's top commander officially confirmed on Thursday. According to China Daily, General Ma Xiaotian said the new aircraft would enhance the PLA Air Force's long-range strike capability, with even greater strides to come.
"We are now developing a next generation, long-range strike bomber that you will see sometime in the future," he reportedly told journalists in Changchun, Jilin province, at a PLA Air Force open day.
The declaration would appear to confirm ongoing speculation that China plans to develop a new aircraft to replace its ageing H-6 bomber which was based on the Soviet-era Tu-16 Badger. China last year revealed the H-6K variant equipped with the DH-20 land-attack cruise missile. According to the PLA’s China Military Online website, H-6Ks have conducted combat patrols in the South China Sea and have participated in air patrol of the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ).
The H-6K was scheduled to be shown in public for the first time on 1st September at a Chinese Air Force open day marking the 70th anniversary of the Old Northeast Aviation School in Changchun, northeast China's Jilin province.