An H-6K strategic bomber unit has been honoured with the title of “Role Model of the Time” by officials within the People’s Republic of China.
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The People’s Liberation Army Air Force unit was given the honorary title for outstanding performance by the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee during June.
The title was established in 2014 and is one of the highest honours conferred to individuals and units in China each year.
Members of the unit have reportedly followed the Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and the Xi Jinping Thought on Strengthening the Military, adhering to the party’s guidance and military strategies, according to a department statement.
Pilots have also focused their combat skills, improved joint operation capability, and developed a series of new tactics while taking part in training and exercises over the South China Sea and surrounding Taiwan.
The squadron also reportedly took part as one of the air force’s first bomber groups in the Korean War fought between North Korea and South Korea from 1950 to 1953, according to the statement.
Xian Hong-6 Chinese strategic bombers are usually escorted by J-20 and Su-35 fighter jets during patrols to maintain sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The H-6 was originally produced under licence in China from the Russian Tupolev Tu-16 in 1959 and carried out China’s first aerial nuclear weapon test in May 1965, according to information published by the US government.
The Xian H-6K variant is reportedly re-engined with D-30KP turbofan engines, larger air intakes, redesigned flight deck, and large dielectric nose radome.
The conventional bomber can be reconfigured as an aerial reconnaissance variant bomber with improved countermeasures, anti-ship missile carrier, strategic nuclear bomber with improved countermeasures, electronic-warfare aircraft with underwing electronic countermeasures pods, land-attack cruise missile carrier, air-launched ballistic missile carrier or in-flight refuelling tanker variant.