Russia has recently rejected China's request to purchase Tu-22 Supersonic strategic bombers to replace the PLA's Cold War-era H-6 strategic bombers, according to Moscow's Russian Military Analyst on Jan. 3.
Large and slow, the H-6 bomber presents a relatively easy target for US and Russian air defenses. China currently operates 100 H-6 bombers based on Soviet Tu-16 strategic bombers purchased from Moscow in 1958. By fitting the H-6 with Russian built D-30KP-2 engines and advanced avionics, the Xian Aircraft Industrial Corporation built the upgraded version of the H-6 bomber called the H-6K.
The combat range of H-6K has been extended to from 18,000 kilometers 30,000. It can carry a payload of six CJ-10A strategic cruise missiles designed based on the Russian Kh-55. However, those modifications do not make the H-6K an advanced bomber when compared to the B-2 and Tu-22 bombers of the United States and Russia. Equipped with long-range cruise missiles, the combat radius of the H-6K is still not enough to conduct strategic missions.
China has been trying to develop new types of bomber to replace the H-6 for years but it has proven to be a difficult task for the country's aviation industry. To catch up with the United States in the development of strategic bombers China pinned its hopes on Russia but has been thwarted for now.