Just when things were not going well for the Pentagon, vis-a-vis China’s rapid military growth, US planners now have to rethink the entire scenario.
There’s a new kid on the block, and “he” is terrifying.
It involves China’s new H-20 stealth bomber, which is believed to have a range of up to 7,500 miles, the UK’s Sun reported.
Analysts believe that would easily bring Hawaii — 6,000 miles away — into reach in chilling echoes of the 1941 attack by the Japanese, making it a “truly intercontinental” threat.
According to the South China Morning Post, which cited a London-based Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies report, the state-of-the-art H-20 can carry a massive weapons payload of 45 tonnes and fly great distances without mid-air refuelling.
The 630 mph war machine is still under development, according to the leading think tank, but the Pentagon fears one day it will be able to target US overseas territories such as Guam, The Sun reported.
“Armed with nuclear and conventional stand-off missiles, the H-20 would represent a major break from previous PLAAF (People’s Liberation Army Air Force) doctrine and equipment development practice,” it reads.
The PLAAF is designed to be a regional force capable of missions on the first island chain – ranging from the Kuril Islands to Japan and onto the Philippines, The Sun reported.
“The H-20, by contrast, would give China a truly intercontinental power-projection capability,” the report said.
Plans for the H-20 were first announced in 2016 and the nuclear bomber may be ready to enter service in five years.
The “strategic bomber,” which was likely modelled after the Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit, was designed to penetrate anti-aircraft defences and drop devastating nuclear payloads.
Reports have said the H-20 will be able to deliver a payload of 45 tonnes, including nukes, and fire hypersonic cruise missiles.
Importantly, the Hong-20 will also complete the country’s so-called “nuclear triad,” The Sun reported.
This consists of ground-based ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles and the long-range nuclear-capable bombers.
While the H-20 still remains mysterious to a large degree, it may not at all come close to rivaling the Air Force’s new B-21 Sky Raider, National Interest reported.
Quoting “military sources,” a report from The New Zealand Herald said the new and still somewhat mysterious H-20 bomber was to make its first public appearance at this year’s cancelled Zhuhai Airshow.
The New Zealand report also said the new supersonic stealth bomber could “double” China’s strike range.
If the H-20 does have the range and passable stealth characteristics attributed to it, it could alter the strategic calculus between the United States and China by exposing US bases and fleets across the Pacific to surprise air attacks, National Interest reported.
Strategic bombers make sense for China because Beijing perceives dominance of the western half of the Pacific Ocean as essential for its security due to its history of maritime invasion, and the challenge posed by the United States in particular.
The two superpowers are separated by five to six thousand miles of ocean — and the United States has spent the last century developing a network of island territories such as Guam, foreign military bases in East Asia and super-carriers with which it can project air and sea power across that span, National Interest reported.