China's latest H-6N bombers fly in formation across the sky above Tiananmen Square in Beijing during the National Day parade on October 1, 2019. Photo: CCTV
Recent images in the Chinese magazine Modern Ships that show an H-6N bomber carrying an air-launched ballistic missile (ALBM) are not official confirmation of the H-6N's ALBM capability, a magazine insider said.
The images are computer generated, merely conceptual and have no official background, the insider told the Global Times.
The insider was responding to numerous foreign reports that have jumped to conclusion. UK-based Jane's Defence Weekly reported on Wednesday that the magazine's illustrations indicate the H-6N is capable of carrying an ALBM and it could be "in the final stages of development, or may even have entered service."
Making its debut to the general public in the National Day parade on October 1, the H-6N has attracted attention of foreign military analysts who have previously speculated the bomber is capable of launching an ALBM, as the weapons bay of its predecessor, the H-6K, has been seemingly replaced with stations used to carry a large external load.
An ALBM could be used to attack an aircraft carrier or even deliver nuclear warheads, foreign media claim.
The H-6N might also be used to launch the WZ-8 high-altitude, high-speed reconnaissance drone, which was also displayed for the first time at the National Day parade, foreign reports said.
Neither the Chinese military nor official Chinese media have yet confirmed the H-6N's capabilities.
The new H-6N is believed to be the latest entry to the H-6 bomber family, with many improvements made to its predecessor H-6K, including an in-flight fuel-receiving probe on the nose of the aircraft, military observers said.