Chinese long-range H-20 stealth bomber could make its debut in November

According to an unnamed source in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), China’s new H-20 stealth bomber will likely make its first public appearance at the Zhuhai Air Show in November ...  assuming the event isn’t cancelled by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chinese long range H 20 stealth bomber could make its debut in November An artist’s impression of te the H-20 bomber (Picture source: Weibo)

According to the military sources, the Xian H-20 is expected to increase the country's military capability and increase the strike range. The unveiling of the new bomber could heighten tensions between China and several countries within the same strike range like Australia, Japan and the Korean peninsula. 

Chinese state television has said the H-20 could alter the strategic calculus between the US and China by doubling the strike range of its current H-6K, dubbed the country's B-52.

The H-20 has reportedly been designed to strike targets beyond the second island ring — which includes US bases in Japan, Guam, the Philippines and other countries — from bases in mainland China. The third island chain extends to Hawaii and coastal Australia.

It will be equipped with nuclear and conventional missiles with a maximum take-off weight of at least 200 tonnes and a payload of up to 45 tonnes. The bomber is expected to fly at subsonic speeds and could potentially unleash four powerful hypersonic stealth cruise missiles.

The new vehicle would put China in the same club as the US and Russia in possessing a three-pronged military force that can launch nuclear missiles from air, water and land.

The US defence department has estimated a cruising distance of more than 8,500km (5,300 miles) for the H-20, the last in China's 20 series of new generation warplanes, which includes the J-20 stealth fighter jet, the Y-20 giant transporter and the Z-20 medium-lift utility helicopter.