JH-XX: China’s 6th-Gen Fighter-Bomber Surprised The West

JH-XX was revealed to be China’s 6th generation fighter, what do we know about this weapon until now?

Military aviation news website Deagle recently provided some details:

“The JH-XX is a new generation medium bomber being developed by China as the replacement for the H-6K medium bomber along with the H-20 long range bomber. The existence of the JH-XX bomber was revealed by the US intelligence community in January 2019. The JH-XX may feature stealth technology combining features from bombers and fighter jets. The combat radius may vary between 1,000 to 2,000 nautical miles,” equivalent to 1,800 to 3,600 km.

By comparison, the H-20 bomber is expected to have a range of at least 8,000 kilometers without refueling, putting the US base of Guam as well as the Australian cities of Perth, Darwin and Sydney within range of an H-20 deployed on Hainan Island. The main contractor of JH-XX is said to be Shenyang Aircraft Corporation, and the plane made its first flight in 2020. However, this information has not been confirmed or any evidence.

China’s new generation fighter-bomber will have a crew of two, a fuselage of 30 meters and a weight of about 100 tons. For further comparison, the J-20 has a length of 22 m and a maximum take-off weight of 37 tons. Based on the mok-up on display, the prototype JH-XX looks like a cross between the F-117 Nighthawk – the original stealth bomber – and the F-22 Raptor – the best fifth-generation fighter available today.

Beijing has experience copying other countries’ defense products. More specifically, the JH-XX seems to blend stealth features including the upper fuselage air intakes and concealed engine nozzles, but has a stabilizer separate from the wings. The JH-XX will feature significant additional capabilities, with comprehensive upgrades over the existing bomber fleet and will utilize fifth-generation fighter technologies in their design.

The aircraft is designed to balance stealth with speed and limited air combat capabilities by carrying the PL-15E – a Chinese long-range air-to-air missile to create advantage over the enemy, or at least to have more opportunities to withdraw. The JH-XX will therefore play a clear role in China’s Pacific strategy as Beijing increases its power over the first island chain to its east. It would also provide a credible deterrent to outside forces seeking to interfere in China.

Along with the H-20, the JH-XX could also advance China’s long-term goal of the second island chain dispute, by threatening the US military base on Guam. All of this adds urgent pressure to the US Air Force to fix all the bugs on the F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter and put the B-21 Raider strategic bomber into operation as soon as possible.

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