China’s H-6K bomber has made an appearance with new weapons – possibly new hypersonic air-launched ballistic missiles similar to Russia’s Kinzhal – for the first time, ahead of the upcoming Airshow China 2022.
The H-6K carried one such missile on each wing. The exact type of the weapon is not yet clear, but it seems like a kind of air-to-ground missile with a design very close to a ballistic missile, Chinese state-owned broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) reports.
While the designation of the missile remains unknown, "2PZD-21" was written on its body.
Previously, the H-6K had displayed its capabilities to carry subsonic and supersonic cruise missiles, and this could be the first time the general public has seen the H-6K carrying a type of air-launched ballistic missile.
It is expected that this H-6K with the missiles will be put on static display at the Airshow China 2022 (Nov. 8-13) in Zhuhai.
“The missiles carried by the H-6K have some resemblances to the Russian Kinzhal hypersonic air-launched ballistic missile by appearance, so it is possible that this type of new missile is also hypersonic,” Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator, was quoted as saying by the Global Times on Thursday.
Being air-launched usually provides a missile with extra range compared with being launched from the ground. The aircraft can also launch a missile from a location closer to the enemy, making the missile more difficult to intercept/
It can likely hit stationary targets as well as slowly moving targets like aircraft carriers, Song said.
The expert added that this new type of missile could also have ground-launched and vessel-launched variants.
It is also possible that other types of tactical aircraft, like fighter jets and fighter bombers, can carry such a missile under their bellies, observers said.