In an effort to keep pace with the United States and other leading military powers, China is advancing a strategic stealth bomber program under the designation of Xian "H-20". The type is expected to become a subsonic performer centered around a flying wing planform. Artist concepts showcase an aircraft not unlike the USAF's Northrop Grumman B-2 "Spirit" stealth bomber (detailed elsewhere on this site) featuring no vertical protrusions and well-contoured engine intakes and forward cockpit section. It is assumed that a crew of two will be used and the bombload will range up to heavy-class loads. Naturally many questions remain about this ambitious bomber design - especially considering the Chinese history with in-house large aircraft design and development and engine development.
The bomber will be manufactured by the Xi'an Aircraft Industrial Corporation for the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF). It is expected to fly sometime in the 2020s. The project goal is mainly to supply the PLAAF with an indigenous long-range bombing platform and the design is likely to succeed the aging line of H-6 bombers still in service (also produced by Xian). This new attack platform will give the PLAAF a reach away from the Chinese coast, particularly as the South China Sea becomes a focal point of regional powers.
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October 2018 - Reports indicate that the H-20 prototype is set to make a first-flight in the very near future.
Xian Aircraft Industrial Corporation - China Manufacturer(s)
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