China tests new long-range missile
BEIJING: China may be testing a long-range air-to-air missile that could take out early warning aircraft and aerial refuelling aircraft, a state-run newspaper said yesterday, after pictures of the new missile surfaced online.
The Asian giant is undergoing an ambitious military modernisation programme that includes stealth jets and aircraft carriers and also tested anti-satellite missiles.
The official China Daily said the People's Liberation Army had posted pictures online of a J-11B fighter carrying a large, unidentified missile during drills.
Air force researcher Fu Qianshao told the newspaper he believed the missile was designed to hit distant high-value targets, such as early warning aircraft, normally outside actual combat zones.
That represents an improved capability over existing Chinese missiles, which have ranges of below 100km.
The missile may have an actual range of 400km, exceeding those used by Western air forces, he added.
The military modernisation comes as China has rattled nerves around the region with increasingly assertive moves to bolster its sovereignty claims in the South China Sea and over Taiwan.
China's first aircraft carrier recently sailed around the island, which prompted Taiwan to scramble fighter jets and ships. - REUTERS