Possible appearance of the promising H-20. Figure Scmp.com
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.
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 Vpk.name
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.
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.
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.