China’s JH-XX Stealth fighter-bomber could attack from aircraft carriers

Resume: China’s new JH-XX, confirmed by US intelligence but still shrouded in secrecy, is expected to be a faster, potentially carrier-capable fighter-bomber that could complement the H-20 by providing versatile attack options against regional targets.

These developments indicate China’s intention to strengthen its stealth technology and long-range military capabilities, with significant implications for regional security.

Inside Look: China’s Stealth Strategy with H-20 and JH-XX Aircraft

Much has been written about China’s Xi’an H-20 stealth bomber, which could challenge US air superiority and emphasize its status as a military power. Featuring a “flying wing” design, the H-20 has earned comparisons to the U.S. Air Force’s B-21 Raider, now in development.

As previously reported, even though details of the H-20 have remained scarce, the bomber has been nicknamed “Storm” by analysts, who have noted that China is one of the few countries besides the United States to possess strategic stealth bombers . The introduction of the H-20 could potentially change the strategic balance between the US and China, especially in the Pacific region.

Yet the H-20 is not the only stealth bomber Beijing claims is under development. There’s also the JH-XX, and while its existence has been confirmed by the US Intelligence Community (IC), few details have actually emerged about the aircraft. The bomber’s very existence raised alarm bells in the Pentagon, and there have been warnings that it could be a fighter-bomber capable of long-range strikes and even delivering nuclear weapons.

“The PLAAF (People’s Liberation Army Air Force) is developing new medium- and long-range stealth bombers to strike regional and global targets,” warned an early 2019 report from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). “Stealth technology continues to play a key role in the development of these new bombers, which are unlikely to be operational until 2025.”

The Pentagon has further speculated that the JH-XX could have much greater speed for use against regional adversaries to help defend China’s territorial claims in the East and South China Seas. It is also suspected that the JH-XX could be used on an airline, and online experts continue to speculate about the possibilities it could provide. It would likely serve as a replacement for the H-6K medium-range bomber, and thus have a combat radius of between 1,000 and 2,000 nautical miles – which could still put the US island of Guam in its sights.

Even more ominous, the country would certainly be able to easily attack the self-governing island nation of Taiwan from bases in mainland China, thus significantly increasing the capabilities of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF).

While few details have been released about the JH-XX, analysts suggest that the design could likely be closer to the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor or Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II than the still-in-development Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider . . So it would trade the H-20’s range and payload for higher speed, and some have theorized an even improved dogfight potential.

H-20 bomber

The JH-XX could also be similar to the proposed FB-22, a bomber variant of the F-22 Raptor fighter. Although the F-22 lacks long-range bomber characteristics and its operational range is only 600 miles, the upscaled FB-22 called for an airframe that could carry 15,000 pounds of weapons. It is also widely believed that Chinese hackers have stolen some F-22 and F-35 designs, so it may be safe to speculate that Beijing is now building on a design passed on by the US Air Force. .

Experience and expertise of author: Peter Suciu

Peter Suciu is a writer from Michigan. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites with more than 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He writes regularly about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics and international affairs. Peter is also one Contributing writer for Forbes and Clearance jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu. You can send the author an email: (email protected).