The Xian H-20 is a subsonic stealth bomber design of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force, due to enter service in the future. It is a “strategic project” for china. The aircraft will feature a wing design similar to that of the Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit, with components already being manufactured. Analysts note that the bomber may enter service by 2025, and will seek to replace China’s existing fleet of Xian H-6K bombers.
Admiral Yin said the H-20 stealth bomber will certainly be on par with the United States’ Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit. He noted China has gained some experience in stealth technology from the development of Chengdu J-20 and the Shenyang J-31 stealth fighters, so the material and design isn’t a big problem.
The US B-2 entered service in 1997 as the second aircraft designed to have advanced stealth technology after the Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk attack aircraft
The US Northrop B-2 is capable of all-altitude attack missions up to 50,000 feet (15,000 m), with a range of more than 6,000 nautical miles (6,900 mi; 11,000 km) on internal fuel and over 10,000 nautical miles (12,000 mi; 19,000 km) with one midair refueling.
According to the China Daily, Chinese military officials have made clear intentions to develop a strategic bomber capable of striking targets beyond the second island chain without aerial refueling, while carrying a payload of at least 10 tons
The H-6K has a range of about 3200 nautical miles.
China’s decision to go ahead with its own stealth bomber seems to have been triggered by its failure to buy Russia’s supersonic Tupolev Tu-22M3 variable-sweep wing, long-range strategic and maritime strike bomber developed by the Tupolev Design Bureau.
This Russian bomber has a combat radius of 2,400 kilometers and can carry up to 24,000 kilograms of bombs and missiles.
Western military analysts said China needs the H-20 to deny the U.S. from entering the “First Island Chain” from Alaska to the Philippines, and to cement its military leadership in Asia.
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