The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force for the first time gave a hint on the design of its next-generation, long-range strategic stealth bomber by including it in a scene in the service’s 2021 recruitment video released on Tuesday, leading analysts to say that the new bomber, allegedly designated the H-20, could make its public debut soon.
In the closing minute of the video, an unknown aircraft rendered in computer-generated imagery enters the stage. It is covered in a white blanket and only the front outline can be seen, which suggests that the aircraft boasts a flying wing design with two intakes on the back of the plane. It has no visible tail wings and no winglets on the tips of the wings.
In the video, the blanket is then removed, giving a view of the aircraft from its left reflected in the goggles of a pilot’s helmet. From this side view, the aircraft seems to be bulky, observers said.
An unknown aircraft covered in a blanket is seen in a recruitment video released by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force this month. Photo: Screenshot from the PLA Air Force 2021 recruitment videoBased on available information, this aircraft is very likely to be the long-anticipated H-20 bomber, analysts said.
Judging from the newly released outline, the H-20 could look similar to US’ B-2 bomber as expected, and its radar cross section will be minimal, Wei Dongxu, a Beijing-based military analyst, told the Global Times on Wednesday.
This could mean that China has achieved a generation-leaping development in bomber planes and become in possession of a world-class strategic stealth bomber, Wei said.
State-owned Aviation Industry Corp of China, a main contractor of Chinese warplanes, released a scene in a promotional video in May 2018, which also showed the front outline of a similar aircraft covered in a blanket, suggesting the flying wing design, but no further details were observed. This was the first time the general shape of the alleged H-20 was released to public.
The PLA Air Force, the future user of the aircraft, did not release any information on the plane’s design until Tuesday.
The H-20 has been the subject of speculation for a long time, and now the Air Force has displayed its vague outline in a recruitment video. This possibly means the outline and design of the aircraft are no longer top secrets, and the development project has made significant progresses, Wei said.
“We might be able to see a real H-20 soon,” Wei predicted.
Beside the hint on the H-20, the recruitment video itself attracted netizens, with many posting comments on social media showing support for the PLA Air Force.
Young actor Jackson Yee Photo: Screenshot from the PLA Air Force 2021 recruitment videoTo get closer to the thinking of Chinese youngsters and encourage them to join the army, the video stars Jackson Yee, a famous young Chinese actor, and actor Wu Jing, whose work in the Wolf Warriors series has inspired patriotic enthusiasm among Chinese people. The video had been viewed more than 68 million times on Sina Weibo as of press time.