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PLA’s new-type bomber practices island bombing in South China Sea

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The H-6J, the latest type of bomber to enter service with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, recently participated in a live-fire exercise in the South China Sea, practicing bomb dropping on islands and sea mine-laying, which analysts said on Sunday displayed the aircraft’s traditional bombing capability in addition to its standoff strike competence.

Affiliated with the Naval Aviation Force under the PLA Southern Theater Command, a regiment based in South China’s Hainan Province organized a drill involving the actual use of high-explosive aerial bombs and sea bottom mines, China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Friday.

Several bombers took off at night, formed aerial formations, and reached the designated sea area at daybreak under complex weather conditions, including heavy clouds.

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The aircraft first laid the sea mines, then proceeded to drop the bombs, which are characterized by their fast speed and large blast radius, CCTV reported.

The bombs hit targets on islands and reefs, the report footage showed.

After the first wave of bombing, the bombers returned to base, received thorough checks and were resupplied with munitions and fuel before taking off again for the second air raid.

“We have effectively tested the accuracy and reliability of both types of munitions. For the next step, we will pursue innovations in tactics and approaches with the realistic situation of the enemies taken into consideration, and make breakthroughs in using new types of weapons and equipment,” Zhang Yanjie, a deputy commander of the regiment, said in the report.

Also carrying YJ-12 anti-ship missiles under its wings in addition to bombs and sea mines in its belly, the H-6J bomber took part in the drill, according to the CCTV report. This type of aircraft was officially revealed by China’s Defense Ministry only last year.

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