JH-XX: the future Chinese stealth bomber which worries the American army
China’s new JH-XX stealth bomber is coming soon – or so we think if the reports are accurate. However, how dangerous will this bomber be once deployed, tested and deployed? Can it calculate with the new B-21 bomber which is also in development? Could the secret Chinese JH-XX stealth bomber be similar to an American concept design? The Chinese Air Force may be inspired by an aircraft offered by a major US defense contractor that was offered to the US Air Force in the past. The next-generation JH-XX may have similarities to the proposed FB-22, a Lockheed Martin bomber that the US Air Force passed on. The FB-22 was a derivative of the F-22 stealth fighter and was intended to be a deep-strike bomber capable of penetrating hostile airspace.
What is the JH-XX?
First, about the JH-XX stealth bomber. To be honest, not much is known about the Chinese bomber. It is believed to be stealthy and supersonic. The Chinese are considering bombing targets in the Indo-Pacific region and even around the world (of course depending on range), according to a 2019 U.S. Department of Defense military power report on China presented to Congress. The report indicates that the JH-XX could be ready to fly by 2025.
Develop stealth characteristics of existing fighters
The JH-XX would borrow from current stealth technologies in fighter jets the Chinese fly, such as the Chengdu J-20 Mighty Dragon which already patrols the East and South China Seas. The DOD said in its report to Congress that the JH-XX would be between 60 and 100 tons and nearly 100 feet long.
Control the region
It would also fire long-range air-to-air missiles from a ventral weapons bay. The range would be in the range of 1,000 to 2,000 miles. This would allow him to threaten American bases in Japan and Guam. The bomber could easily attack Taiwan. It is unclear if the JH-XX would be nuclear capable.
Maybe similar to FB-22?
Long range, stealthy and fast – these sound like the ideas behind the FB-22. The FB-22 bomber was inspired by the F-22 Raptor fighter. Could the Raptor’s enviable characteristics be transferred to a new US bomber program? It was going to be a departure, maybe even a bridge too far. The F-22 does not have long-range bomber characteristics. Its operational range is only 600 miles. Additionally, the F-22’s internal payload is not large enough to handle much beyond four GPS-guided 250-pound small-diameter bombs.
The FB-22 would have delta wings to handle a larger payload
The FB-22 would need a longer fuselage. If that didn’t work, it could use a delta wing design with a much larger surface area than the F-22. The concept would allow for a weapons systems officer in the rear. The idea was a cell that could carry 15,000 pounds of weapons. This included not only larger bombs, but also medium-range air-to-air missiles to protect them from enemy combatants.
High speed with more fuel
New engines borrowed from the F-35 Lightning II would give the bomber a top speed of MACH 1.9. The larger aircraft would carry nearly double the fuel of the F-22 with a 300% greater range (2,000 miles) than the stealth fighter.
It goes without saying that the Chinese would like to copy certain aspects of American warplanes. They are believed to have stolen plans for the F-35 and are keen to match the design capabilities of existing or planned US aircraft. The JH-XX is also likely to draw inspiration from the B-21 Raider, a next-generation stealth bomber the United States is currently building. China is like a chess player who studies moves from books and seeks to imitate existing strategies instead of formulating his own. It seems like these gambits echo what he wants to achieve with next-gen aircraft design.
Now as 1945 Defense and National Security Editor, Brent M. EastwoodPh.D., is the author of Humans, Machines and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an emerging threat expert and former US Army infantry officer. You can follow him on Twitter @BMEastwood.