Air-launch adapted SRBM has appeared on a Xian H-6K aircraft

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BEIJING ($1=7.25 Chinese Yuans) — At the beginning of next week, from November 8th to November 13th, the China 2022 air show will start in China. The event will be hosted by the city of Zhuhai. Preparations are already in full swing and the first curious shots have started to arrive.

Photo credit: Twitter

An interesting missile was spotted under the wing of a Chinese aircraft – the Xian H-6K bomber. Military experts, media, and analysts say this is the first official appearance of this version of the missile. The missile is from the B-611 solid-fuelled short-range ballistic missile familiy – the CM-401.

The CM-401 is a short-range hypersonic ballistic missile [SRBM]. This is the air-launch variant of Chinese ballistic missiles of this class. Some experts compare the CM-401 to the Russian Kh-47M2 Kinzhal missile system.

Initially, we were used to seeing the Chinese CH-AS-X-13 anti-ship ballistic missiles under the wings of this type of bomber. The appearance of the CM-401 and its upcoming airshow presentation suggests that Beijing is capable of varying its choice of the strike weapon. The Xian H-6K is an aircraft capable of carrying nuclear and hypersonic weapons.

Mounting the CM-401 under the wing of the aircraft makes sense. Currently, it is more cost-effective and financially viable to develop air-launched options than more expensive ground-based systems. The appearance of this hypersonic missile on an air platform fits the rapid expansion/production model the PLA has adopted to fit out its fighting force including strategic-level systems.

Photo credit: SCMP

China continues to work on improving the performance of its current and future ballistic missiles. For example, as we reported on September 18th, China is working on a supersonic anti-ship missile capable of submerging underwater.

The South China Morning Post, citing scientists involved in the project, reports that a five-meter rocket will be able to fly at a speed of 2.5 times the speed of sound at a height of about 10 kilometers before plunging underwater. Underwater, the rocket will be able to travel a distance of 20 kilometers.

As the newspaper notes, as soon as the missile is within 10 kilometers of the target, it will go into torpedo mode, moving underwater at a speed of up to 100 meters per second, forming a giant air bubble around itself, which significantly reduces drag. In addition, the missile can change course or dive sharply to a depth of up to 100 meters, if necessary, to avoid underwater defense systems without losing speed.

The main difficulty faced by scientists is the creation of a power plant capable of providing the necessary thrust both in the air and underwater. According to scientists, this problem can be solved with the help of boron, which actively reacts in both environments, releasing a huge amount of heat.

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