The Chinese Air Force (PLAAF) has released its 2021 recruitment video that offers a sneak peek at its next-generation ‘Xian’ H-20 stealth bomber. Experts believe the H-20 bomber could make its debut soon.
The H-20 subsonic stealth bomber, which is believed to be in its development phase, is PLAAF’s first dedicated strategic bomber. According to reports, the H-20 bombers will carry 10 tons of munitions and have a maximum unrefueled range of around 5,000 miles.
This will enable the bomber to have a substantially greater reach than any variant of the PLAAF’s H-6 bomber, especially if the new bomber is armed with long-range land-attack cruise missiles.
The recruitment video first appeared on YouTube on Tuesday, with a disclaimer saying, “CCTV (China Central Television) is funded in whole or in part by the Chinese government”.
The video titled ‘Dream of Youth’, shows the journey of a single individual, who along with other candidates joins the PLAAF to become a fighter pilot.
The video starring young Chinese actors Jackson Yee alongside and Wu Jing is aimed at encouraging Chinese youngsters to join the PLAAF.
It takes the viewer into a computer-rendered futuristic hangar housing, what appears to be, an H-20 stealth bomber, covered under a white blanket with only the front outline visible.
The outline suggests that the aircraft has a flying wing with two intakes on the back of the plane, with no visible tail wings and no winglets on the tips of the wings.
When the sheet is removed, the aircraft’s view is reflected on the visor of a pilot’s helmet, giving an idea that the aircraft is a bulky one.
The H-20 aircraft shows a distinct resemblance to the US Air Force’s B-2 Spirit and the future B-21 Raider bomber. However, its actual design will only be known when the aircraft makes its first public appearance.
Beijing-based military analyst Wei Dongxu told state-owned Global Times that the H-20 could look similar to US’ B-2 bomber as expected, and its radar cross-section will be minimal.
“This could mean that China has achieved a generation-leaping development in bomber planes and become in possession of a world-class strategic stealth bomber,” he said.
The decision to release the video suggests that the aircraft has made significant progress, Wei said. “This possibly means the outline and design of the aircraft are no longer top secrets, and the development project has made significant progress,” he maintained, adding, “We might be able to see a real H-20 soon.”
The video is similar to a promotional video that was released in 2018 by the State-owned Aviation Industry Corp of China, the main contractor of Chinese warplanes.
The old video also showed the front outline of a similar aircraft covered under a blanket, suggesting just the flying wing design.
However, it is the first time that the general shape of the H-20 stealth bomber has been made public.