Military Review

Xian H-20: Chinese strategic bomber designed from the ground up


Possible appearance of the promising H-20. Figure

Over the years, Chinese industry, led by Xi'an Aircraft Industrial Corporation, has been working to create a promising strategic bomber H-20. Very little is known about this machine, and the available data does not differ in particular detail. However, already this year a “premiere” show may take place, thanks to which the appearance and some characteristics of the aircraft will be known.

New deadlines

Until recently, Chinese and foreign sources claimed that the Xian H-20 bomber would be able to enter the army in the mid-twenties. This allowed us to present approximate timelines for the output of equipment for testing and demonstrations to the public. Now more accurate data has appeared - even if not official.

On May 4, the Chinese publication South China Morning Post, citing unnamed sources in the PLA, spoke about the possible public display of the finished bomber and other project materials. The venue for the first show may be the Airshow China 2020 airshow, scheduled for November 10-15, 2020. The latest Chinese developments are regularly shown at the exhibition in Zhuhai, and the H-20 bomber is unlikely to be an exception.

How exactly the new aircraft will be shown is unclear. The prototype, the appearance of which was expected to date, can show in the parking lot or even demonstrate in flight. In addition, the exhibition will have to attend certain information materials.

Politics and virus

A SCMP source noted that the future display of the H-20 aircraft directly depends on the situation in the country. If the coronavirus epidemic can be controlled or completely stopped, Zhuhai will be able to host an air show, and aviation industry will once again show its developments.

The success of the Airshow China 2020 exhibition will confirm China’s ability to solve various problems. First of all, the opening of the salon will show success in the fight against the virus. In addition, it will be possible to demonstrate at the exhibition that the epidemic did not hit the potential of aircraft manufacturing and that it is still able to produce modern technology and promising models.

One of the earliest versions of the alleged appearance of the H-20. Figure

Another source of SCMP believes that even the demonstration of the H-20 can adversely affect the situation in the region. Due to the high flight performance, the new bomber will be able to hit targets in the territories of various countries of the Asia-Pacific region, from Japan to Australia. The situation in the Asia-Pacific region cannot be called calm, and the ongoing pandemic only worsened the situation. Even showing an experienced bomber in itself will be a new destabilizing factor.

Classified characteristics

Xi'an Corporation and the PLA have so far announced the existence of the H-20 project and disclosed only the most general data. The bulk of information about the promising bomber comes from unofficial sources - the Chinese and foreign press, as well as foreign intelligence. All this allows you to make a relatively detailed picture, but its plausibility is still in question.

H-20 is the first strategic bomber developed in China from scratch, without using a foreign model as the basis. It is believed that the goal of the project is to create a long-range subtle supersonic (according to other sources, subsonic) bomber with the ability to carry a wide range of nuclear and conventional weapons.

In the past it was reported that the flight range without refueling should reach 8,5 thousand km. The combat load is estimated in a fairly wide range - from 10 to 45 tons. The exact appearance of the machine is unknown, which also leads to the appearance of the most daring versions. So, the most popular estimates describe a flying wing scheme machine with a take-off mass of more than 200 tons.

The question of the power plant remains open. At different times in the foreign press appeared versions about the use of their own Chinese and imported engines. According to the first, an upgraded version of the turbojet WS-20 was created for the H-10. According to another version, China ordered one of the options for the existing NK-32 from Russia.

According to foreign data, the prototype H-20 aircraft already exists from 2013-15. passes flight tests. Perhaps the construction of several prototypes. Thus, at a future exhibition in Zhuhai, one of the machines that have already been tested is expected to be shown. In addition, the construction of serial equipment may begin in the near future.

Expected Opportunities

In terms of basic goals and objectives, the Xian H-20 will be a typical strategic bomber. It will have to deliver weapons to targets or launch lines located at great distances from the airfields. Due to the significant increase in flight characteristics, the new aircraft will be able to show serious advantages over its predecessors in the form of H-6 bombers of all modifications.

The Xian H-6K bomber is the backbone of the PLA long-range aviation. Wikimedia Commons Photos

The main advantage is the flight range and combat radius. Taking off from mainland airfields, the H-20 will be able to work outside the so-called The second chain of islands, including Japan, about. Guam, Papua New Guinea, etc. Based on advanced airfields on the islands, refueling and weapon extended range will dramatically increase the area of ​​responsibility of aircraft.

Unlike its predecessors, the H-20 is invisible, which gives it obvious advantages and becomes an answer to objective challenges. China confronts several developed countries in the Asia-Pacific region that are able to organize effective air defense and air forces. In order to break through such a defense and deliver strikes at strategic depth, inconspicuousness is also necessary.

A bomber capable of carrying special ammunition will become part of the Chinese nuclear triad. The PLA's strategic nuclear forces nominally include all the necessary means, but their real potential is still limited. For example, the air component of the strategic nuclear forces is still based on aircraft of the H-6 family. These bombers, despite numerous upgrades, are long outdated and need to be replaced.

The appearance of serial combatant H-20s will make the aviation part of the nuclear forces modern and fully operational, as well as ready to carry out combat missions at strategic ranges - outside the island’s near chains.

From display to service

According to foreign media reports, tests of the Xian H-20 bomber could begin several years ago, but this machine has not yet been shown to the public. Moreover, so far it has been possible to keep secret both the appearance and the main characteristics. However, this year the situation may change - if the information about the first display of the aircraft at the future Airshow China 2020 is true.

According to various sources, the mass production of the H-20 should begin by the middle of the decade, and approximately in 2025 the aircraft will begin service. In what quantities such equipment will be produced, and how quickly it will be possible to create a full-fledged combat-capable group is unknown. However, the consequences of these actions by China can be understood now.

Due to the H-20, the PLA will upgrade its strategic aviation, and a full-fledged modern and combat-ready air component capable of threatening a potential enemy will appear in the strategic nuclear forces. Naturally, the appearance of such an aircraft will not go unnoticed by other countries and will become an incentive for the development of air defense and the air force. At the same time, the bomber will contribute to the growth of tension in the Asia-Pacific region, since not one of the opposing countries wants to give up their positions.

However, all this is a matter of the distant future. So far, the main topic can be considered the expected first show of a promising aircraft. If the sources of the South China Morning Post were not mistaken, the public will see the Xian H-20 next fall. And the first bomber show will be a step towards all further events.

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  1. Free wind
    Free wind 13 May 2020 05: 39 New
    Pictures are beautiful, without options.
    1. Civil
      Civil 13 May 2020 09: 47 New
      The question is only about engine readiness, the rest of the technology, at the moment, is available from China.
  2. Dmitry from Voronezh
    Dmitry from Voronezh 13 May 2020 06: 39 New
    The Chinese are rapidly progressing in long-range aviation. Most likely they will receive their N-20 sooner than we get their PAK YES (if at all). Only N-32 they do not need to sell. Copy technology - and all matters. Why help a competitor? Let them try to do it themselves.
    1. Uncle Izya
      Uncle Izya 27 July 2020 20: 12 New
      Yeah, only dviguny so you can't copy all this nonsense alloys you need to know and much more
  3. The leader of the Redskins
    The leader of the Redskins 13 May 2020 07: 48 New
    So developed by or being developed?
    While there is no car, there’s nothing to talk about! I'm not talking about the series (although for the Chinese this is not a problem). Then, of course, childhood illnesses, other operational problems, accidents will come out ...
    Then we’ll talk about his have developed... At the same time, let's see how different it is from the Tu-16 ...
    1. Boa kaa
      Boa kaa 13 May 2020 13: 07 New
      Quote: Leader of the Redskins
      While there is no car, there’s nothing to talk about

      Chingachguk, even though you are the Big Serpent, but you are wrong!
      There is something to talk about! China, not having a school for designing heavy bombers, stepped over the YES generation and made (!) A 5th generation machine. Yes, he is not the first, but we are still sawing our PAK YES according to the "flying wing" patterns, and the hunfuz, following the Yankees, have already lifted his prototype into the air and are going to show the public in the air at the Beijing 2020 Air Show. And then - the conveyor and the finalization of the machine.
      At the same time, let's see how different it is from the Tu-16 ...

      Why not see something!
      Here it is, Hong-20, in person ...

      By the way, pay attention to samples of weapons and options for loading it. Impressive however!
      A few words about the article.
      Cyril in his repertoire: many variations of the repetition of the same thought, which reduces the sharpness of perception of information.
      Where the author got the data on the combat load (up to 45t!?) Can only guess. Because: V-2max = 27t, B-52 -max = 31,5t, Tu-160 -max = 45t (?) (40t confirmed, but the radius without refueling is 2 times less than declared). And, given the katavasia with dvigolami at khinkov, and the declared 20t they will not be pulled over a radius of 7,5 thousand km ...
      And so, a very interesting article, which makes us think about the progress of preparing the PLA for a confrontation in the Asia-Pacific region with peddlers .... uhh shit democracy. yes
      1. The leader of the Redskins
        The leader of the Redskins 13 May 2020 13: 11 New
        But with this word I agree! laughing
      2. Ka-52
        Ka-52 13 May 2020 13: 40 New
        By the way, pay attention to samples of weapons and options for loading it.

        8 pcs CJ-10K? Each weighs more than a ton. Two revolvers of 4 in each visible. Then a dozen YJ-81 how to put?
        China, without a school for designing heavy bombers, stepped over the YES generation and made (!) A 5th generation machine

        when this is stated, you always wait for the real picture. Because such leaps through the generation rarely succeed.
  4. Zaurbek
    Zaurbek 13 May 2020 08: 38 New
    If China developed and launched the J-20, then the main components of Stealth and avionics worked there. KR in China are in service, Corr ammunition in a larger assortment than that of the Russian Federation. The main problem is the turbojet engine of the required thrust. While the main turbojet engine D-30.
  5. The comment was deleted.
  6. V.I.P.
    V.I.P. 13 May 2020 10: 42 New
    If it looks like in the picture with bombs, then saying that it was designed from scratch is not entirely correct. Outwardly, the idea was taken from the American B-2, which has been flying since the end of the 80s .... Pictures of the Russian Pak Yes are also similar in appearance to the B-2. So it’s clear what an example to follow. In addition, in the United States there were a lot of scandals about Chinese hackers, etc. dragged those F-35 documentation. And they could have pulled out documentation on an airplane thirty years ago. Reworked taking into account their technology ... .... By the way, the Americans will make the B-21 based on the B-2, but taking into account modern achievements of science and technology ....
    1. Ka-52
      Ka-52 13 May 2020 11: 50 New
      I think comparing external contours is not entirely correct. The layout in any case is directly dependent on the concept. If the concept is the same, then the layout will be similar for different design bureaus. If the Americans were able to find the optimum during the design of the spirit, then for the others following in their footsteps, why refuse the successful scheme? It’s like a cart, why get on the 5th wheel when it rides 4 perfectly) Often the diablo is in the details: air intake system, propulsion system, layout of fuel tanks and internal compartments, on-board equipment and weapons. This is where the differences begin.
    2. abc_alex
      abc_alex 17 May 2020 10: 51 New
      Quote: V.I.P.
      If it looks like in the picture with bombs, then saying that it was designed from scratch is not entirely correct. Outwardly, the idea was taken from the American B-2, which has been flying since the end of the 80s .... Pictures of the Russian Pak Yes are also similar in appearance to the B-2.

      Because the implementation of the "tailless flying wing" scheme cannot look different. This scheme looks like this since 1944, from the prototypes of the Horten brothers. :) And Northrop's planes look like this, he was a fan of this scheme in his life. There is no need for this "personification", there is a scheme for constructing an aircraft. And all the planes within this scheme are inevitably similar to each other. Like Tu-160 and Lancer, for example. Who copied from whom? :)

      Quote: V.I.P.
      So it’s clear what an example to follow.

      If so, then the Chinese do not sparkle with the mind. To imitate Spirit in the 21st century, with its concept of attack by free-falling bombs of specially protected objects, forgive me, morality. The Chinese do not imitate, look at the weapons, they are building missile carrier. A scheme is chosen based on the required LTH. And not from the Shtatovs they are copying.

      Quote: V.I.P.
      In addition, in the United States there were a lot of scandals about Chinese hackers, etc. dragged those F-35 documentation.

      And then what side got out? What the Chinese dragged away is on their face. :) Rather, on the face. Look at the shape of the nose and the air intakes of their fighter. This is where direct copying of the technical solution is.

      Quote: V.I.P.
      And they could have pulled out documentation on an airplane thirty years ago.

      What for? These planes were actually stillborn. Cases of their use for their intended purpose did not take place, and the price is so high that cases of their real application do not justify it in any way. What is the point of copying?
      And what the Shtatovs say should be taken with skepticism and criticism.
  7. knn54
    knn54 13 May 2020 11: 21 New
    China creates a full-fledged nuclear triad.
  8. iouris
    iouris 13 May 2020 12: 56 New
    The pre-flight preparation time is a day, the duration of the flight to the target is half a day. The concept of "strategic bomber" is appropriate only in relation to the tasks that the aviation of a large state solves in a war against a small state. Such a "bomber" is nothing more than a "long arm" of command.
    Strategic tasks can be solved only by missile forces.
  9. zenion
    zenion 13 May 2020 17: 47 New
    For some reason, they suggest that it should be similar to the American one. And it may look like a bike with eight wheels and three wings working on a bunch. When it flies, then even ants die on earth, if they take a deep breath. In the same way, a Ukrainian tank was made, in which no one believed and stopped making it. Since they do not believe, there is nothing to build.
  10. fider
    fider 14 May 2020 08: 01 New
    Right from the ground up, the B-21 doesn't count. tongue
  11. Growlers
    Growlers 14 May 2020 11: 45 New
    Xian H-20, it seems to be as it is, but at the same time it seems to be as if it does not exist ... And the creation from scratch in relation to China sounds like it is overly optimistic ...