The PLA Air Force is estimated to possess 160-180 H-6 bombers, which are among the most advanced in the country.
The Chinese Xian H-6 is known to be a license-built version of the Soviet Tupolev Tu-16 twin-engine jet bomber. It was a product of close military and political ties with the Soviet Union since the 1960s. It was this relationship that set the stage for the Chinese military to achieve the miraculous developments we witness today.
Initial production versions of the H-6 bomber were armed with a number of 23 mm cannons for self-defense. There are two cannons in remote dorsal turret, two in remote ventral turret, and two cannons in manned tail turret. Some aircraft carry one more 23 mm cannon in the nose. Later production models have some or most of the cannons removed. Also on later models crew was reduced from six to four men.
This bomber is fitted with two Xian WP8 turbojets. It is the engine of the Tupolev Tu-16, produced in China under license. This aircraft lacks sufficient range for truly strategic missions. With the increased development in ballistic missile technology the nuclear strike role of the H-6 diminished in importance.