H-6 Bomber Aircraft Discussions


gelgoog

Senior Member
Registered Member
These are definitely not strategic nuclear delivery bombers. Maybe useful against nearby targets in case of nuclear war but only India is a nuclear power within reach of H-6. There is no real point to deliver nuclear strikes against any other potential adversary. For actual nuclear targets, H-6whatever will never even get close enough. The ALBM is unlikely to be nuclear. Nuclear opens up pandora's box and the entire point of H-6 deployed towards focusing on the eastern and south eastern directions are more focused on air launching anti-surface weapons (mostly anti-ship) in a clear effort to target carriers. ALBM may be useful against American bases all around China and maybe developed against surface vessels.
It does not make sense as a strategic weapon but as a theater weapon it does.
You could put either a conventional or tactical nuclear warhead in it and use it to strike enemy naval task forces or land bases.
The extra range you get with the missile allows you to strike with the bomber outside the envelope of enemy air forces or air defenses.
 

ougoah

Captain
Registered Member
It does not make sense as a strategic weapon but as a theater weapon it does.
You could put either a conventional or tactical nuclear warhead in it and use it to strike enemy naval task forces or land bases.
The extra range you get with the missile allows you to strike with the bomber outside the envelope of enemy air forces or air defenses.
I don't think there's any point to arm it with a nuclear warhead even as a theater weapon. Arming it with nuclear warheads doesn't add anything conventional ones cannot already achieve when it comes to hitting airfields. Even less so for surface vessels if it has that capability. Nuclear just opens up a can of worms with a more thorough destruction of the intended targets. Conventional does that well enough I would imagine.
 

gelgoog

Senior Member
Registered Member
I don't think there's any point to arm it with a nuclear warhead even as a theater weapon. Arming it with nuclear warheads doesn't add anything conventional ones cannot already achieve when it comes to hitting airfields. Even less so for surface vessels if it has that capability. Nuclear just opens up a can of worms with a more thorough destruction of the intended targets. Conventional does that well enough I would imagine.
Just look at the damage the Iranian missile strike did to that US airbase. Conventional warheads aren't that powerful.
It would be another thing if you carped bombed it but a single missile has a limited payload.
 

sheogorath

New Member
Registered Member
Just look at the damage the Iranian missile strike did to that US airbase. Conventional warheads aren't that powerful.
It would be another thing if you carped bombed it but a single missile has a limited payload.
Iranian missiles are severely limited by the outdated tech they employ, from materials and design to guidance. Hardly comparable to what China has access to.

On the other hand, using nuclear warheads will warrant a nuclear response as, most likely less restrained than the initial punch, making the use of nuclear weapons a gamble and risky proposition, at the very least.
 

gelgoog

Senior Member
Registered Member
Iranian missiles are severely limited by the outdated tech they employ, from materials and design to guidance. Hardly comparable to what China has access to.

On the other hand, using nuclear warheads will warrant a nuclear response as, most likely less restrained than the initial punch, making the use of nuclear weapons a gamble and risky proposition, at the very least.
Outdated tech? The Iranians have solid rocket missiles with composite casings.
The attack was pretty much pinpoint accurate. But the amount of damage the explosives can do is limited.
They had 450kg to 650kg of conventional explosives in the warhead. A DF-26 will at best have twice that.

Now, you can use a barrage of missiles, but that is expensive. In the case of H-6 delivered missiles impractical even.
You could theoretically use a thermobaric round to increase the damage and stay within the conventional explosive realm.
But thermobaric weapons have their limitations too. Depending on the target they can be extremely effective or not that effective.
In the case of an aircraft carrier I have my doubts about the effectiveness of such an explosive.

Thermobaric weapons have more energy per weight because they use the ambient air as part of the explosion where conventional explosives must carry the oxidizer as part of the payload. So they are more effective in general but still not at the level of a tactical nuclear weapon which is many orders of magnitude more powerful.

Another possibility would be some sort of fragmentation weapon which uses bomblets. This would be effective against airfields because then the defending side would have to manually clean the leftover mines before the airfield could be operational.
 

Temstar

Junior Member
Registered Member
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Interesting video discussion the implication of H-6N with air launched DF-17.

Assumptions: being air launched, the ALBM DF-17 gains additional range due to starting from altitude and at velocity, as well as having a first stage nozzle optimised for atmosphere-vacuum pressure range rather than surface-vacuum pressure range. The assumption is that ALBM DF-17 has 3000km range.

Assumption: H-6N, with aerial refuelling would have up to 6,000 km tactical radius.

Note he mentions the H-6N armed PLAAF formation is larger than other bomber formations, and their base may have facilities associated with nuclear weapons.

He calculates range from an origin point right in the middle of China in Henan:

Honolulu: 8,800km
Anchorage: 7,000km
San Francisco: 10,000km
New York or Washington DC: 11,000km
Paris or London: 8,500km

Based on this, the most likely target for this combination is Hawaii. However, if a certain "friendly" nation where to offer refuelling and right of way an attack over the north pole against mainland US would be possible. Although an attack against New York or Washington would mean the H-6N must reach launch position in Canadian airspace, an attack on San Francisco would require a launch position near Alaska. These positions are heavily monitored and defended by NORAD so is not very likely to be successful for an non-stealth aircraft like H-6N.

For attack on Hawaii, H-6N must penetrate the area near Japan and Taiwan which means JASDF, USAF based in Japan and ROCAF need to be suppressed. Although one imagines in a situation where attack on Hawaii (particularly if a nuclear one) is called for than all bases in the first island chain would already be out of commission from PLARF missile attack.

Once H-6N is over the Pacific Ocean undetected it would be extremely difficult to stop this attack. Any carriers that might be in the area to attempt an intercept would already have been targeted by AsBM from either land based PLARF DF-26B, or other H-6N carrying ALAsBM. For aircraft based in Hawaii, it would be very hard for them to locate and sortie out an aircraft to intercept H-6N 3,000km out. Once a DF-17 is launched its of course nearly impossible to intercept with existing missile defence.

If Russia where to coordinate with China on this attack so that H-6N can be aerial refuelled in Russian airspace then penetrate into the Pacific Ocean via Sea of Okhotsk then this attack would be much easier.

It's not known if DF-17 can be used to attack a ship underway at sea. Chances are at this time it can't, but there's no reason to assume a future anti-ship version of DF-17 wouldn't become available. H-20 would also make this kind of attack much easier to execute.
 

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