China’s aggressive military expansion has led the country to develop a new stealth bomber that is capable of penetrating the air defenses of their enemies, possibly even the United States. The new, all-Chinese design, will now be able to make longer flights and carry more bombs than its current soviet-era bombers.
China’s state-run newspaper, China Daily, last week dedicated an entire page to an article on military talks concerning the future advancements of the People’s Liberation Army along with its air force (PLAAF).
The article stated that “The air force does need an intercontinental strategic bomber capable of penetrating an enemy’s air defenses.”
The most important requirements for this new development is the ability to transport 10 tons of missiles and bombs and travel approximately 5,000 miles without having to refuel.
This would allow the new bomber to travel the approximate 2,500 miles to Darwin, Australia from China’s most southern Hainan province, as well as to Perth, which is approximately 3,500 miles away and to Sydney at approximately 4,500 miles away. This will also allow for easier travel to the U.S. military base located in Guam.
Once multiple new military air bases have been completed on newly constructed islands in the disputed Spratly Islands, the distances for this travel will be significantly decreased, allowing the Chinese to strike every-closer American interests.
Rumors have been circulating for some time now on Chinese military blogs of a newly designed Chinese stealth bomber that are similar to the B-2 “Spirit” of the United States, a 25-year old heavy bomber featuring both speed and stealth.
With the unofficial classification H-X, or at times referred to as H-20, the only element concerning design that is certain is stealth and the role it will play in an aircraft that is able to carry a “triad” of nuclear weapons.
The importance of this has been demonstrated with the PLAAF having been labeled a “strategic force” by the Chinese government. This title had only previously been applicable to the PLA’s Second Artillery Corps, who is responsible for the country’s intercontinental ballistic missile supply.
The article in the China Daily also recognized the difficult task that lies ahead, making note that this type of an aircraft requires “a state-of-the-art structure and aerodynamic configuration as well as a high-performance turbofan engine”.
“All of these are major problems facing the Chinese aviation industry,” according to deputy editor Wang Yanan. “I don’t think these difficulties can be resolved within a short period of time.” China has had notorious difficulty reproducing relatively simple Russian jet engines and has been forced to import then despite years of painstaking research and a hacking spree designed to reveal every last secret of the Russian process.
In recent years, China has been quickly growing and modernizing its navy, adding the ability to field their first aircraft carrier as new warships and submarines steadily enter into service.
According to several news reports, it appears that the air force will gain similar attention.
The U.S. and its constant cuts in budget, is beginning to run the risk of falling into a similar economic trap as the former Soviet Union in which they engaged in unaffordable arms races in order to stay in front of rapidly developing technology. The defense cuts, in light of China’s increasing military development, will likely face review when a new President is elected in 2016.
The United States Air Force is currently investing in a similar yet far more advanced replacement to the old and fragile B-2 as well as a wide array of carrier based attack drones.