BEIJING, China – The Chinese Air Force, which already has two poachers, is working on two new medium- and long-range stealth aircraft projects, a report by US military intelligence said.
Chinese aircraft manufacturers are involved in two stealth bomber projects at the same time, according to Aviation Week, quoting a report from the US Defense Department’s Intelligence Agency.
The existence of one of these projects, H-20 or HX, was confirmed by the Chinese Air Force in 2017. However, no reliable information on the second project was disclosed.
According to the Pentagon, the second project, designated JH-XX, involves the development of a medium-range fighter-bomber. The aircraft will be equipped with AESA radar, air-to-air missiles and air-to-ground missiles. US military intelligence experts believe that this aircraft will go into service with the Chinese Air Force not before 2025.
In the development of these new combat aircraft, Chinese builders use the stealth technologies applied in the creation of the Chinese fifth-generation fighters J-20 and FC-31.
Earlier, it was revealed that the new airplane is being built since 2008 at the Shanghai Aviation Research and Design Institute (SADRI).
The development of this bomber is strictly confidential. The media stresses that the H-20 could replace the planes Beijing has used for decades, such as the Xian H-6s, which are a version of the Tupolev Tu-16. Since 1959, the year in which the H-6 first flew, 180 units were manufactured, of which about 100 are still in operation.
Meanwhile the new fifth-generation Chinese fighter, Shenyang J-31, would be a replica of the US fighter F-35 Lighting II.
However, experts do not believe that the Chinese aviation industry is able to accurately reproduce the furtive technologies of the F-35 fighter because of the scientific and technological backwardness of the materials used by the Chinese.
However, the Chinese J-31 only intends to be similar in appearance, despite its lower quality, in addition to the much lower price that will be offered by the Chinese in the international market, selling it to countries that can not pay for F-35 fighter jets or that are unable to buy them for political reasons.