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China’s New H-20 Stealth Bomber Should Make Air Force Generals Sweat

Expert: “I would not count the H-20 out as it could be more like the new B-21 Raider than the B-2 Spirit.”

H-20 Stealth Bomber
Image: Creative Commons.

The Xian H-20 stealth bomber is one of the most ambitious projects of a Chinese military that is seeking to become the regional power in the Indo-Pacific.

Still under development, the Xian H-20 stealth bomber will give the Chinese military an air-delivered nuclear capability in addition to a powerful conventional bomber.

H-20: A Deep Penetration Bomber 

All the available evidence—which, to be sure, is limited—suggests that the Chinese military has opted for stealth and deep penetration capabilities rather than speed and agility. Put simply, the Chinese military seems to be preferring an aircraft that will be hard to detect and will have the necessary systems that would allow it to penetrate deep inside the anti-aircraft umbrella of an adversary over an aircraft that will be able to outrun or outmaneuver enemy fighter jets or anti-aircraft missiles.

The Xian H-20 stealth bomber is no stranger to the U.S. military and intelligence community. In the past, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) has assessed that the Chinese military is designing the Xian H-20 stealth bomber to have an operational range of anywhere between 4,000 to 5,000 miles.

In addition, the Defense Intelligence Agency has assessed that the new Chinese stealth bomber will be outfitted with an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar in order to better identify incoming threats, such as anti-aircraft missiles or enemy fighter jets.

As far as a fully operational capability goes, the Chinese military aims to have something by the end of the decade, a timeline that roughly aligns with the one the U.S. Air Force has for its future stealth bomber, the secretive B-21 Raider.

The Final Piece of a Nuclear Triad 

The Xian H-20 stealth bomber is designed as the last piece of the Chinese military’s nuclear triad. The People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force and the People’s Liberation Army Navy both have a nuclear capability (ballistic missiles that can be launched from the ground and submarines respectively).

But Beijing has been lacking an air-delivered nuclear munition. And the Xian H-20 stealth bomber is designed to fill that capability gap and give Beijing a true nuclear triad—the ability to launch nuclear weapons from the land, air, and sea, thus giving a country full nuclear deterrence.

“China maintains nuclear-capable delivery systems in its Rocket Force and Navy. As of 2017, the Air Force had been reassigned a nuclear mission, probably with a developmental strategic bomber,” the Defense Intelligence Agency had assessed in a report back in 2019 about the Xian H-20 stealth bomber.

“The bomber’s deployment would provide China with its first credible nuclear triad of delivery systems dispersed across land, sea, and air—a posture considered since the Cold War to improve survivability and strategic deterrence,” the Defense Intelligence Agency report had added.

H-20

China’s H-20 Stealth Bomber? Video Screen Shot from YouTube,

What the Experts Told 19FortyFive About the H-20

“Depending on the plane’s capabilities, range overall numbers it deployed, and stealth characteristics, it seems the H-20 could be a real game changer for China’s Air Force,” explained Harry J. Kazianis, President of the Rogue States Project. “However, as most reports point out, we don’t have a lot of hard data to reach many conclusions. Nonetheless, China has surprised us again and again with new military equipment like carrier-killer missiles, aircraft carriers, and stealth fighters over the last fifteen years. I would not count the H-20 out as it could be more like the new B-21 Raider than the B-2 Spirit.”

1945’s New Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business InsiderSandboxx, and SOFREP.

1945’s Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist with specialized expertise in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.

13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Omega 13

    August 22, 2022 at 11:46 am

    “Still under development” means that no one is going to “sweat” about this. Stop using that word. Are you are high school freshman? Jeez.

    This site has gotten pathetic in the past two months. To whom did you sell out?

  2. Froike

    August 22, 2022 at 12:02 pm

    Red Chinese are Expert Copycats. Wonder how they got the Specs? Swalworth, Pelosi, Bidet?

  3. Eric-ji

    August 22, 2022 at 12:15 pm

    Another essay with “make XXX sweat”. How unimaginative.

    Or, perhaps the editorial board created a campaign that asks authors to write about what makes XXX sweat.

    Whatever, it’s tiring and trite.

  4. 404Forbidden

    August 22, 2022 at 12:53 pm

    H-20 won’t make anyone sweat. Fullstop. Instead, it will only elicit sneers and jeers from the pacific warmongers.

    H-20 should be replaced by space assets that permanently orbit the earth such as spaceplanes & spacegliders. This is because such assets possess outright the ability to perform a (surgical strike) guillotine mission on the lair of globalist warmongers, a task simply beyond the capability of H-20.

  5. GhostTomahawk

    August 22, 2022 at 1:10 pm

    Lol… it’s a wannabe B2. It’ll be terrible. Our “intelligence” community has a history of overestimating the Chinese and former Soviet Union technological capabilities.

    So whatever China says reduce by half and whatever our intelligence community says almost disregard fully.

  6. Dr. Scooter Van Neuter

    August 22, 2022 at 1:24 pm

    The Chi-coms continue to develop state-of-the-art weapons as fast as they can steal them from America…

  7. Steven

    August 22, 2022 at 3:40 pm

    Looks good. Should last about 2 weeks, just like their can openers…

  8. Mario

    August 22, 2022 at 3:40 pm

    “Red Chinese are Expert Copycats. Wonder how they got the Specs? Swalworth, Pelosi, Bidet?”

    I would think of someone wanted by the FBI. Someone who steals classified documents and has dangerous friendships in russia and china. Sure you know who am I talking about…

  9. Jacksonian Libertarian

    August 22, 2022 at 5:38 pm

    The B-2 is 33 years old, and China hasn’t even flown an H-20 but is using it in a recruiting video. Recruiters are not known for their truthfulness, especially Authoritarian recruiters.

    The US will have a B-21 (2026-2027) before China’s pirated B-2 ever sees service.

    China is building 1 J-20 stealth fighter per month. The US is building over a dozen F-35’s in 3 flavors (A,B,C) per month.

  10. Brian Foley

    August 23, 2022 at 10:05 am

    This is just another speculation, nothing more. The author is guessing what the H-20 might be capable of based propaganda released by the CCP. The author hasn’t seen one, hasn’t seen one fly, hasn’t seen any credible data…so what we have is a blind man who hasn’t seen an elephant, heard an elephant, touched an elephant…who hasn’t been in the same room as an elephant trying to convince us what an elephant could do.

  11. Ed

    August 23, 2022 at 6:37 pm

    Verticle fins. Sure, they’re 15 degrees off center, but having those fins make a big difference. One thing for a fast mover to have a slightly larger signature, this bomber is not B-1 fast.

  12. LGarou

    August 23, 2022 at 11:58 pm

    Show us your TR-3B!

  13. joe.kerr

    August 24, 2022 at 9:19 am

    China’s new hypersonic glider can strike any part of the U.S. via the North or South poles, so the U.S. navy won’t be transiting the TW straits while China continues exercises there. Chinese are known for their patience, and can wait for the U.S. economy to collapse from its war-addled debt before retaking TW as a real estate transaction.

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