China has delivered 15 nuclear weapon-ready bomber aircraft to its air force, Defense Updatereported on Tuesday.
The “H-6K” bombers can hold cruise missiles beneath their wings, unlike Beijing’s older H-6 bombers. The newer planes are also said to be more agile and capable of flying with fewer operators. The aircraft delivery was first reported by Jane’s Defense Weekly.
The bomber’s Changjian 10 cruise missiles can carry nuclear warheads between 930 and 1,230 miles, giving the aircraft a possible reach of up to 3,100 miles, according to Defense Update. That maximum flight distance would place Guam, Hawaii and Okinawa within striking distance from Chinese territory.
China was believed as of 2006 to possess roughly 120 H-6 bombers, including “a couple of dozen” capable of nuclear arms delivery, according to a report by the Federation of American Scientists.