China’s H-20 Stealth Bomber Inches Close To Debut; Official Says ‘No Bottlenecks, All Problems Solved’

The rivalry between China and the United States is set to intensify as China could be inching closer to unveiling its next-generation H-20 stealth bomber to the public, months after the US declared its B-21 Raider had entered low-rate production.

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The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force deputy commander stated at the two sessions in Beijing that the much-awaited H-20, China’s first strategic stealth bomber, was worth the hype because it has not faced any technical challenges during development and will be unveiled to the public shortly, Chinese state-owned publication Global Times claimed.

A member of the 14th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), Wang Wei, made the comments in response to a question from the Hong Kong Commercial Daily regarding updates on the H-20 during the second session of the CPPCC, which concluded on March 10.

Chinese state media hinted in July that the country was planning to conduct a flight test of its upcoming H-20 Bomber. EurAsian Times reported in August 2022 that photographs of two distinctive models that could be related to the final prototype of the aircraft have surfaced online.

However, no confirmation was made by the Chinese authorities.

In his recent media interaction, Wang stated that “there is no bottleneck, and all problems can be solved” in response to a question concerning whether the H-20 had experienced technological bottlenecks. “Our scientific researchers are progressing well, they are fully capable,” he added.

According to Wang, the aircraft’s test flights will be closely followed by its commissioning and mass production, which will coincide with its official public unveiling soon.  He emphasized that “[the H-20 is] to be proud of; it is worth the excitement” and that the commissioning of the H-20 will greatly improve the PLA Air Force’s capabilities.

Currently, China operates the H-6 class of strategic bombers, which has been in service for decades. The H-6 is a medium-range subsonic platform without stealth capability.

Some Chinese experts cited by Global Times said that despite upgrades to the aircraft over the years, it is unable to penetrate modern air defense and would be forced to launch standoff munitions to target the adversary.

EurAsian Times understands that this may not augur well for the PLA Air Force in a near-peer conflict in the Indo-Pacific region, especially as an armed confrontation between China and the US is never off the table, according to military commentators.

The Chinese experts told the Global Times that a future generation stealth bomber, able to elude hostile detection, will make it possible to launch more potent or economical weapons at closer range and in greater quantities.

After being put into service, the H-20 is expected to transform into a superior fighting force, act as a potent strategic deterrent, and support the preservation of national security, development, and sovereignty as well as provide regional and global peace and stability.

China ‘Dares’ US B-21 Raider With Its 8500-Km Ranged H-20 Stealth Bomber That Can ‘Bomb Out’ USAF Bases – State Media

China’s H-20 Bomber Is Coming Soon!

China’s long-range bomber project was initially revealed by then PLA Air Force commander Ma Xiaotian in 2016, who openly acknowledged the aircraft’s development.  However, the details about the development of this bomber have remained cloaked in secrecy.

Other than a promotional video broadcast by the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China in 2018 and a recruitment video for the PLA Air Force in 2021, not much official information has been made public about the bomber since.

The front outline of the aircraft was shown in a May 2018 promotional video released by the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC). It was wrapped in a blanket with “The Next” written over it, indicating the flying wing design.

In January 2021, a clip from the PLA Air Force’s recruitment video featured the flying wing design of the long-underdeveloped next-generation, long-range strategic stealth bomber.

The US Defense Department projects that China’s H-20, the final of its “20 series” modern bombers, will have a cruising range of more than 8,500 kilometers (5,300 miles), surpassing the nation’s attack range.

This essentially means it would be easily able to reach beyond the second island chain made up of the Pacific islands to the east of the US territory of Guam. This could be a threat to China’s regional adversaries and the United States, given that Chinese military analysts have frequently noted that China can easily intimidate other militaries into staying out of Taiwan if it can attack the second island chain.

More importantly, it will be the country’s first-ever stealth bomber. It appears that the Chinese military is developing an aircraft that is difficult to intercept and has the systems it needs to penetrate deep under an enemy’s anti-aircraft shield.

In the past, US officials have also voiced alarm that the PLA “may also be constructing a refuellable bomber” that might “achieve initial operating capability before the long-range bomber.”

Analysts in the United States anticipate that the H-20 will also have an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, which would be an advancement for the PLAAF.

The H-20 will reportedly be armed with nuclear weapons, making up one arm of a nuclear triad that also consists of nuclear missile submarines and land-based missiles. The bomber is believed to be capable of carrying four “stealth or hypersonic” missiles.

File: H-20 Bomber

Although the H-20 has been referred to as the Chinese answer to the US B-21 Raider, Wang refused to draw comparisons while categorically iterating that it does not want to compete with the United States and only defend its national security.

The B-21 is a next-generation bomber aircraft positioned as a challenger to China in a potential military conflict. The bomber is essential for breaking through enemy radars and air defenses through stealth and electronic jamming.

The B-21 is expected to be pivotal in any potential conflict with China in the Indo-Pacific. The Raider can conduct conventional strikes and carry out several other tasks.

It is believed that in case of a conflict between the two states, the B-21 Raider will attempt to get past China’s strong anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) defenses and conduct ground operations to take out important targets.

Earlier, China criticized the US for rushing into the production of the B-21 Raider bomber in its bid to challenge and contain China. However, it seems the US is now accelerating the development of the aircraft and its unveiling, though there are no official details about when the aircraft will break cover.