The cover image of Modern Warfare, a magazine of China-government owned defence corporation, is attracting attention of the entire world. A computer–generated image of China's Xian H-20 bomber was published by the state-owned China North Industries Group (Norinco), giving rise to speculations that the stealth bomber could be able to hit Guam [1,800 miles from China] with a nuclear force.
The Xian H-20's features include a weapon bay, adjustable tail wings, an airborne radar and two air intakes wither side of the cockpit. The design is said to be similar to the Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit bomber, a mainstay of America's long-range nuclear force since 1997.
All About Xian H-20
Reports claim that the stealth bomber could evade radar to strike the US territories. However, the weapon has not been officially confirmed by China yet. But according to military analysts, it is true that China is working on a long-rage stealth bomber. The warplane is said to under development for years.
The Modern Warfare magazine had termed the Xian H-20 as 'god of war in the sky'. So far, four computer-generated images of the same have been published. Reports also claimed that H-20 will be equipped with nuclear, hypersonic and conventional cruise missiles, have a maximum take-off weight of 200 tonnes and a payload of up to 45 tonnes, with top speeds expected to be subsonic – less than 609mph, stated the Dailymail.
Speaking to South China Morning Post, Asia-Pacific defence analyst, Jon Grevatt said that this warplane would threaten the US assets and interests in the Asia-Pacific. "If the aircraft becomes operational, it has the potential to be a game-changer," said Grevatt.
Though China's stealth bomber could affect American interests, America itself has heavy strategic bomber Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit that has an operational range of nearly 7,000 miles, which is much further than Xian H-20's reach of 1,800 miles. The Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit is referred to as 'unsinkable aircraft carrier.'
The regions under a threat of attack by China's stealth bomber are said to be Bonin Islands and Volcano Islands of Japan, Mariana Islands, and Guam, a US military territory. China has been claiming ownership of the Island. It can be noted that Brunei, Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Vietnam also have made similar claims. According to Grevatt, the aircraft is likely to become operational by the late 2020s.
What Are Stealth Aircraft?
Stealth Aircraft are designed to prevent detection using advanced technologies that reduce reflection/emission of radar, infrared, visible light, radio frequency (RF) spectrum, and audio, collectively known as stealth technology. The first operational aircraft designed using stealth technology is F-117 Nightwalk, belonging to the U.S. It became operational in 1981. The other such stealth aircraft are the B-2 Spirit, the F-22 Raptor, the F-35 Lightning II, the Chengdu J-20, and the Sukhoi Su-57.
Recently, a report in foreignpolicy.com stated that as a military power, China has no ability to destroy the United States without destroying itself. The report said that China's nuclear capabilities are far below those of the United States, and also that China has a fraction of the budget of that of the United States. These reports might have irked China, which has been exercising its power to claim authority in other regions too including Tibet, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
But this kind of power-strategy does not work for the U.S. that has challenged China. Thus this action of releasing the image of stealth bomber Xian H-20 is seen as an indirect warning to the U.S.