China has a new long range bomber program

The head of the Chinese air force, Ma Xiaotian, stated that China is developing a new long-range bomber.

“We are now developing a new generation of long-range bomber, and you’ll see it in the future,” Ma told the Global Times without elaborating.

China has been ramping up research into advanced new military equipment, including submarines, aircraft carriers and anti-satellite missiles.

Ma said the air force had entered into a “transformation” stage, changing its focus from quantity to quality.

A new long-range bomber with intercontinental range and a large payload would enable China to threaten U.S. forces at longer ranges.

That could mean using massed bomber formations armed with cruise missiles to attack U.S. carrier strike groups further out to sea than is currently possible with the H-6K

The H-6K is a 21st-century version of a Soviet bomber that first flew in April 1952. The Tupolev design bureau’s Tu-16 was the Soviet Union’s first big, jet-propelled bomber. Powered by two AM-3 turbojets buried in the wing roots, the subsonic Tu-16 could haul up to 10 tons of bombs — nuclear or conventional.

The H-6K replaces the original AM-3 turbojets — which one analyst called “thirsty and maintenance intensive by current standards” — with much more efficient D-30 turbofans. Without aerial refueling, an armed H-6K can cruise 1,900 miles or so before needing to turn around — a big improvement over older models.

Even more impressive, an H-6K that refuels in mid-air twice can reportedly range 3,100 miles from base while hauling 12 tons of weapons, including up to six YJ-12 supersonic anti-ship missiles or CJ-20 subsonic land-attack cruise missiles, capable of striking targets 250 and 1,500 miles away.

China is buying the largest cargo plane in the world, the Ukrainian An-225. The An-225 has a range of up to 15,400 kilometers.

After serially producing the An-225 (in about 2019-2021) with its long 10,000 kilometer range with significant cargo, China could add cruise missile and drone launch racks to make it into a larger than B-52 style mother ship. China would likely develop the military portion of that project by themselves.

China has also formed a $7.5 commercial jet engine company. They will use the domestic company and the partnership with Ukrainian engineers to catchup with commercial and military jet engines.

The US B52 is capable of carrying up to 70,000 pounds (32,000 kg) of weapons, and has a typical combat range of more than 8,800 miles (14,080 km) without aerial refueling.

The US has 76 B-52 aircraft in service as of February, 2015.

The B-1B is a revised B-1 design with reduced radar signature and a top speed of Mach 1.25. It was otherwise optimized for low-level penetration. A total of 100 B-1Bs were produced.

Payload: 125,000 lb (56,700 kg) ; internal and external ordnance combined
Maximum speed:
At altitude: Mach 1.25 (721 kn or 830 mph or 1,335 km/h) at 50,000 ft (15,000 m) altitude
At low level: Mach 0.92 (700 mph or 1,100 km/h) at 200–500 ft (60–150 m) altitude
Range: 5,100 nmi (5,900 mi; 9,400 km)
Combat radius: 2,993 nmi (3,444 mi; 5,543 km)

Tupolev Tu-22M Backfire Jet Bomber has 119 in active service.

Maximum speed: Mach 1.88 (2,303.08 km/h; 1,243.565 kn; 1,431.07 mph) (2,000 kilometres per hour (Mach 1.6; 1,100 kn; 1,200 mph)) ; at altitude
Range: 6,800 km (4,200 mi, 3,700 nmi)
Combat radius: 2,410 km (1,500 mi, 1,300 nmi) with typical weapons load

Maximum speed: Mach 1.88 (2,303.08 km/h; 1,243.565 kn; 1,431.07 mph) (2,000 kilometres per hour (Mach 1.6; 1,100 kn; 1,200 mph)) ; at altitude
Range: 6,800 km (4,200 mi, 3,700 nmi)
Combat radius: 2,410 km (1,500 mi, 1,300 nmi) with typical weapons load

The Russian Supersonic T160

As of 2015, 11 Tu-160s Blackjack bombers are combat-ready
Maximum speed: Mach 2.05 (2,220 km/h, 1,200 knots, 1,380 mph) at 12,200 m (40,000 ft)
Cruise speed: Mach 0.9 (960 km/h, 518 knots, 596 mph)
Range: 12,300 km (7,643 mi) practical range without in-flight refuelling, Mach 0.77 and carrying 6 × Kh-55SM dropped at mid range and 5% fuel reserves
Combat radius: 7,300 km (3,994 nmi, 4,536 mi,) 2,000 km (1,080 nmi, 1,240 mi) at Mach 1.5

Russia’s new Tupolev Tu-160M2 Blackjack supersonic strategic bomber is expected to make its first flight in late 2018 and enter into full-rate production by 2021.

The Tu-160M2—though it more or less retains the same airframe—is practically a new aircraft under the hood. The new bomber will feature completely new mission systems and possibly be powered by upgraded versions of the existing Kuznetsov NK-32 afterburning turbofan. The Russians plan to buy about fifty of the new Tu-160 variant, however it is not clear if the 16 original model Tu-160 airframes will be upgraded to the new standard.

The Tupolev Tu-95 Bear bomber is a large, four-engine turboprop-powered strategic bomber and missile platform
As of 2012, 55 of them are combat-ready

Maximum speed: 920 km/h (510 knots, 575 mph
Range: 15,000 km (8,100 nmi, 9,400 mi) unrefueled
Service ceiling: 13,716 m (45,000 ft)