China is flexing its nuclear triad, and one of the pillars will be the H-20 stealth bomber.
The Xian H-20 has a familiar flying wing shape, similar to the US Air Force’s B-2 Spirit. Will the H-20 be able to reach the US to carry out a nuclear bombing while still evading radar?
It is a dilemma for American defense planners as they consider China’s air power. The H-20 has a reported range of 12,000 km – enough to reach the US without refueling.
The H-20 is described as follows: “It has a rounded upper body that blends in with the wings, a curved upper air intake, and essentially no tail structure. This seems to be an overtly ‘mimic’ design of China.”
But the weapon payload of the H-20 is superior to that of the B-52 and B-2: it can carry 45 tons of bombs and missiles. For comparison, America’s next-generation stealth bomber B-21 Raider can only carry a payload of 15 tons.
The H-20’s 12,000 km range is even shocking. The US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) estimates that the H-20 can only fly 8,000 kilometers without refueling, but that’s still considerable range. The DIA believes that since 2019, China has improved its bombers.
Obviously the H-20 will be a remarkable aircraft. It is said to have nuclear deterrence and integrated hypersonic weapons, capable of hitting Guam, South Korea and Okinawa – all areas where US troops are located. The H-20 is also bad news for the island of Taiwan.
H-20 can be equipped with anti-ship missiles to threaten US aircraft carriers. That could be a start as the DF-21D ground-based anti-ship ballistic missile has only been tested from a destroyer.
It is not clear whether the DF-21D can be launched from a bomber, but China is expected to have this capability in the coming years if the H-20 also advances as expected.
Although not likely to be ready until 2030, the H-20 is an important Chinese defense procurement priority that could protect Beijing’s interests in East Asia and advance to Pearl Harbor.
The H-20 can be ready to fight at the same time as the B-21 to blunt the US Air Force’s leap forward in stealth bombers. Especially if China embarks on other efforts to steal American aviation technology.
The H-20 is causing concern for the US military, especially when China seems to be gradually approaching its combat capabilities when a new aircraft carrier has just been launched.
Chinese shipbuilders are building more destroyers and submarines. The hypersonic missile is being tested. Pilots are getting better and better at flying fighters with stealth properties. These developments caused a lot of headaches for Americans.
Although not everyone agrees on the exact range of the H-20, it can be said that it is capable of carrying out missions from long distances to the point of threatening US and allied interests.
The Chinese Air Force and Navy can go beyond the immediate vicinity and bring destruction on a global scale. Beijing’s military strategy is aimed at improving joint military capabilities and the nuclear triad, in which the H-20 holds a particularly important place.