Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force H-6K long-range strategic bomber conducted a touch-and-go landing on the Woody Island in the Parcel Islands in the South China Sea.
PLAAF H-6K conducted touch and go training at the Yongxing Island lately. pic.twitter.com/uB6BcCD9ew
— dafeng cao (@xinfengcao) May 18, 2018
Woody Island (called as Yongxing Island by China) is the largest of the disputed Paracel Islands in the South China Sea. Yongxing/Woody Island is occupied and administered by China (PRC) as part of Sansha city of Hainan Province.
The airport on the island is called Yongxing Island Airport and it has a runway that is 2,700 metres (8,900 ft) long, capable of handling any fourth generation fighter aircraft of the PLA Naval Air Force such as the Chengdu J-10AH, Shenyang J-11BH, Xian JH-7A, or Sukhoi Su-30MK2.
The airport has four hangars, a radar navigation station and four large fuel tanks, enabling it to serve as a forward deployment base for refueling warplanes on combat missions.
According to some reports, HQ-9 Surface to Air Missile (SAM) system and Shenyang J-11BH fighter aircraft are deployed on the island.
Xian H-6 is a licence-built version of the Soviet Tupolev Tu-16 twin-engine jet strategic bomber, built for PLAAF by Xi’an Aircraft Industrial Corporation (XAC).
In 2007, the PLAAF introduced the bomber’s latest variant, H-6K, fitted with a more powerful and fuel-efficient engines and modern electronics and capable of carrying air-launched cruise missiles. According to United States Department of Defense, this will give the PLAAF a long range standoff offensive air capability with precision-guided munitions (PGM).
The bomber can carry a payload of up to 12 tons. The H-6K can carry up to seven YJ-12 supersonic anti-ship missiles or CJ-20 subsonic land-attack cruise missiles.
China is estimated to currently operate around 120 of the aircraft.