New Chinese stealth bomber ‘can target US bases thousands of kilometres away’
By Richard Wood
A new Chinese stealth bomber will give the rising superpower a “truly intercontinental capability” including the ability to target US territory, according to a British think tank.
Capable of carrying nuclear weapons, the H-20 bomber marks a major advance from China’s status as only a regional power, the South China Morning Post reports.
China is still developing the aircraft but when completed the Pentagon believes it will be able to reach US overseas territories such as the island of Guam in the Pacific.
The report by the London-based Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies gave an overview of how Russia and China were modernising their air forces.
“Armed with nuclear and conventional stand-off missiles, the H-20 would represent a major break from previous People’s Liberation Army Air Force doctrine and equipment development practice,” said the report.
While China’s air force is organised around targeting a series of Pacific island targets including Japan and the Philippines, the H-20 – when operational – would significantly expand that range.
The aircraft’s subsonic speeds, range, armaments and radar-evading stealth technology could tilt the strategic balance in the Asia Pacific, some analysts said.
A report by the US Defence Department earlier this year, said the H-20 is expected to enter service by 2025. And with a payload of 45 tonnes, the H-20 is designed to carry four stealth or hypersonic cruise missiles.
It has an estimated range of about 8500km that would bring the island of Guam within range.
Chinese defence expert Adam Ni, from Sydney’s Macquarie University, told Nine.com.au last year the aircraft’s development is aimed to deter Western nations such as the US.
“China is making clear progress in acquiring an effective strategic bomber that would enhance its strategic deterrence against its competitors, such as the US,” he said at the time.