China may be about to make the maiden flight of the Xian H-20, the first stealth bomber developed in the country.
According to the country’s media, Ge Heping, a senior official at the Flight Test Establishment, the flight test division of AVIC (Aviation Industry Corporation of China), urged his team to mobilize to carry out a test of “strategic importance and historical”.
The citation of the term “strategic” has fueled rumors that the flight in question is the mysterious flying wing-shaped bomber.
The H-20 has been the subject of sporadic publications by the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF), which even released projections of the aircraft in 2021.
The first flight of the bomber has been awaited for some time, but there are those who believe that the event may involve other aircraft under development, such as the catapult take-off variant of the J-15 fighter or the J-35, a new stealth naval fighter that has already been seen in flight tests.
The H-20 bomber is China’s most ambitious military aircraft development program and a source of headaches for the US Air Force, already affected by the entry into service of the J-20, China’s first stealth fighter.
According to reports, the bomber would have a maximum take-off weight of 200 tons and a payload of 45 tons. A high-performance turbofan that is still in development would be one of the reasons for the delay in the aircraft’s schedule.