|Arthur Dominic Villasanta |||Jun 12, 2017 10:36 PM EDT|
The Pentagon has confirmed persistent reports that China's Xian H-20 stealth strategic bomber currently being developed will be able to launch thermonuclear missiles or drop thermonuclear bombs on targets as far away as the continental United States.
In its 2017 Report on Chinese Military Affairs, the Pentagon also noted the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) "does not currently have a nuclear mission." This omission will end with the development of the H-20, which will become China's first heavy and long-range strategic bomber.
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China is now engaged in "developing a strategic bomber that officials expect to have a nuclear mission," said the Pentagon report. This bomber will fulfill China's aspiration to develop a next generation, long-range strike bomber to replace its ageing Xian H-6 strategic bombers that first flew in 1959.
Rear Admiral Yin Zhuo, Director of the People Liberation Army Navy's (PLAN) Expert Consultation Committee said having the H-20 will become one of the symbols of the PLAAF as a strategic service.
Adm. Yin pointed out that China has never developed such a heavy and long-range strategic bomber before. He said China's current heavy bomber, the Xian H-6, isn't a true strategic bomber because it lacks the necessary long-range.
He praised the H-20, saying this stealth bomber will certainly be on par with the United States' Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit. He confirmed the H-20 will be a stealth strategic bomber and that it might take 10 years to develop.
He noted China has gained some experience in stealth technology from the development of Chengdu J-20 and the Shenyang J-31 stealth fighters, so the materials and designs for the H-20 aren't big problems.
Adm. Yin revealed the cruise missiles, nuclear bombs and other weapons that will arm the H-20 are all in place. This means now is the time for China to develop strategic bombers.
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