A PLA H-6K strategic bomber. (Internet photo)
The People's Liberation Army's H-6K strategic bomber can attack the Japanese mainland with CJ-10 cruise missiles without even leaving Chinese airspace, reports the Kanwa Defense Review run by Andrei Chang also known as Pinkov, a military analyst based in Canada.
China had no real nuclear projection capability until H-6K entered service with the PLA Air Force, Kanwa's report said. H-6K bombers have already been deployed with the 8th and 10th air divisions of the PLA Air Force. However, strategic bombers alone can not help China penetrate enemy defenses using surface-to-air missiles. For this reason, the long-range cruise missile has become a crucial part of China's nuclear arsenal.
With a range of between 1,500 and 2,000 kilometers, the CJ-10 meets the requirements of the PLA Air Force to possess the capability to launch strategic missile attacks against US military facilities and those of its allies in the Western Pacific. All major cities in India are also within range if the H-6K launches the missile from Tibet.
In a potential war against Southeast Asian neighbors over territories in the South China Sea, the CJ-10 could be launched directly against Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines from the airspace of China's southern island province of Hainan. Although the bomber and cruise missile lack the range to attack Russia's largest cities, they pose a major threat to Russian cities in the Far East. An H-6K taking off from the air base of the PLA's 10th air division in Anqing, Anhui province, would be able to strike at all US military bases in South Korea.
If the bomber were commanded to attack Japan's main island of Honshu, the best choice from which to launch the CJ-10 missile would be the airspace of the Shandong peninsula at a distance of 1,700 kilometers, the article said, while Heilongjiang province in northeastern China is only 1,100 kilometers from the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido.