East-Asia-Intel.com, September 11, 2013
What if the Chinese military were to mimic Russian tactics and deliberately fly heavy bombers extremely close to Japanese air space, prompting the SDF, Self Defense Force, to scramble of jets, thus ratcheting up the tensions?
On Sep. 8, two Chinese Navy’s H-6 bombers did just that. They flew over the narrow airspace between two Japanese islands in the southern part of the Okinawa archipelago.
This marked the first time that the Chinese bombers were reported by the Japanese defense ministry as flying through the narrow air space.
The two H-6 bombers were met by Japan’s F-15J jets scrambled for the occasion.
Apparently, the Chinese military meant to send Japan a message on the one year anniversary of the Japanese government’s “nationalization” of the Senkaku islands, which took place on Sept. 10, 2012.
The H-6 bomber is the Chinese version of the Russian Tupolev-16. It has a 3,700 mile range and 174,000 pounds takeoff weight.
The latest version of H-6 is capable of carrying nuclear-tipped cruise missiles.
Japan issued an official protest to China over the incident which Beijing rejected.
“China enjoys freedom of overflight in relevant waters and the Chinese military will organize similar routine activity in the future,” said a statement issued by the Information Bureau of the Chinese Ministry of National Defense.