The number of Chinese long-range bomber aviation is sharply reduced

Since 2008, there has been a steady trend associated with the restructuring of three Chinese long-range bomber divisions, which in general leads to a significant and drastic reduction in the number of long-range bombers. This is very likely due to the changes in the general international situation that the PRC has to face. In addition, most H-6 bombers were produced in 1980-s, and most of them come to the exhaustion of their resource. On the other hand, there is no indication that the Xi'an Aircraft Corporation is conducting a large-scale release of the H-6. It is obvious that the capabilities of the Chinese long-range aviation (YES) are reduced. The Kanwa magazine presents its thoughts on the topic.

The Chinese Air Force has three divisions YES: 36-I, 8-I and 10-I. The 10 Division is deployed in the Nanking Military District and has an Anqing-based airfield. It includes both the old H-6H modifications and the most modern H-6K, that is, the overall technical level of the aircraft has increased. In other aircraft divisions, the number H6 significantly decreased.

The 36-I bomber division is deployed in the Lazhou Military District and is based on the Wukong and Lintong airfields. Satellite photos taken by 13 on November 2006 show that there was a 21 bomber in Wukong, of which 10 were operated. In 2003, satellite photographs recorded the H-33 bomber in Wukong 6. In Lintong as of August 2009, not a single H-6 was observed, although in April of the same year there were 16 bombers. On this account there may be two considerations. The first is that the 36-division was reduced, two long-range regiments were merged into one, which corresponds to the level of Russian-Chinese relations after the Cold War. According to the second, Lintong Airfield needed urgent repairs, and therefore all the aircraft temporarily left it. The Chinese Air Force currently repairs the 2-3 airfield annually.

The 8 bomber division in the Guangzhou Military District uses Dangyang and Leiyang airfields. At Danyang airfield in January, 2010 was not visible on the photo from satellites. Only IL-76 transport aircraft remained on it. And in 2004, the 22 bomber was spotted on it. Available photos from 2006. Indicate the presence of a 31 bomber in Leyang. The airfield is equipped with underground shelters similar to those based on the 10 division in Ankin. The underground tunnel is 10-meter wide, and its wingspan is similar to the Soviet Tu-16 and is 30 meters. Obviously, the tunnel is used as a storage for ammunition and fuel. According to the bold assumption of Kanwa, bombers in underground tunnels are equipped with nuclear ammunition. (it is not very clear what the Kanwa authors had in mind with regard to the conclusions about the purpose of the underground tunnels by the sentence above. - P. 2).

The 10 division of the Air Force in the Nanking Military District was the only one to receive reinforcements, and the situation at the Daiocang bases (Dajiaochang) and Ankin gives more information about the latest trends.

First, at the airfield in Ankin in June 2009, the X-NUMX H-15 bombers were noticed, among which five were distinguished by their fresh color. According to Kanwa, these were the newly launched upgraded H-6K bombers, which can be used by CJ-6 cruise missiles. Are these bombers aimed at Okinawa, Taiwan or even Guam? Comparing these photographs of the Ankin airfield with the 10 made in March, it is found that at that time there were only nine H-2008s on it, but the remaining parts of the airfield did not look neglected. This may indicate that other H-6 flew. Photos taken in July 6 show 2004 bombers, which corresponds to the size of the regiment. Satellite photographs of this aerodrome, taken in three different lengths of time, underline the fact that the aerodrome is highly alert, and the ammunition and fuel storages are hidden underground.

At the Daiao airfield (as the text probably refers to the same Dajiaochang airfield - P.2) in Nanking 2009 in August 17 H-6 bombers were observed from satellites, but only 13 were in parking positions and probably were regularly used . In July 2007, 21 H-6 was spotted here, in 2006, 23, in January, 2005, 18. Obviously, the 10 Division consists of two bomber regiments.

Consider the production of H-6 bomber. The 2009 9 + 1 bomber H-6 was recorded from satellites at the Xlang Test Center in Yanliang in October, with one H-6 standing at a separate site. Kanwa had once suggested that it probably could have been an H-6K modification bomber, and the remaining nine could belong to the recently launched N-6H or H-6M naval aviation, or a special version of H6 with an extended lifespan. It can also be assumed that the H-6 were stored there.

Based on a long-term analysis of satellite photographs, Kanwa believes that the H-6 bombers, whose nose and tail parts of the fuselage are covered with a tarpaulin, belong to the machines of the new production. Three of the nine aircraft are covered with tarpaulin. According to satellite photographs, in April 2009, only two H-6 were at the aerodrome. These two H-6 seem very interesting, since many cars were seen around them. According to Kanwa, it is very likely H-6K. In June, 2006. Satellite photographs showed that there were nine H-6 at the aerodrome, of which seven were covered with tarpaulin. This clearly indicates that the production of H-6 bombers is very limited.

In general, the fleet of the Chinese H-6 bombers is shrinking, while the new bombers have not yet begun flight testing.
Andrey Frolov
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