Chinese stealth model (GE)

The mysterious Chinese flying wing spotted by Google Earth

Alleged aircraft with a wingspan of 18 meters was photographed at testing facilities near Beijing and resembles the possible configuration of the H-20 stealth bomber

The Gaobeidian facility, about 70 km southwest of Beijing, China, has been a curious staging ground for sightings of the country’s mysterious aircraft shapes.

The place resembles an air base, with what appears to be a runway but some buildings and structures reveal that it is not that. The “runway” has a hangar at one end and pedestals along its axis, as well as other suspicious installations.

Gaobeidian is actually a Chinese government Radar Cross Section (RCS) testing center, responsible for evaluating stealth aircraft configurations, that is, those capable of not being detected by air defense systems.

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Gaobeidian compound
Gaobeidian compound

In February, a Google Earth satellite image captured an exposed “flying wing aircraft” east of the compound.

Although it was not the first time such a model had been seen in Gaobeidian, the vehicle showed striking coincidences with illustrations of the H-20 stealth bomber of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force.

Rendering of the H-20 bomber
Rendering of the H-20 bomber (Modern Weaponry magazine)

There are several images produced in the country representing the 6th generation aircraft, with considerable differences, but the Gaobeidian flying wing is very similar to one of them, which features a double swept configuration and vertical stabilizers.

The hypothesis was raised by journalist Andreas Rupprecht, considered one of the greatest experts on Chinese defense.

As can be deduced from the activities on the site, the flying wing is not a real aircraft. It could be an unmanned aircraft model like several others spotted in Gaobeidian, but also the H-20 on a smaller scale.

Rough measurements indicate that it has a wingspan of 18 meters and a length of 11 meters, about a third of the likely measurements of the real bomber.

Purposeful carelessness

China’s apparent carelessness in showcasing its studies outdoors would not be naive. The government often exposes them on purpose as it knows that spy satellites are always recording activities in sensitive locations.

On past occasions, images have captured models of US Air Force (USAF) aircraft such as the F-22 Raptor and the F-117A Nighthawk.

J-20 model in Gaobeidian in 2015
J-20 model in Gaobeidian in 2015 (Google Earth)

In 2015, a full-scale model of the J-20 stealth fighter was also seen at Gaobeidian performing RCS tests, an indication that the site is not just for unmanned aircraft.

The timing, at the time, was quite propitious as the J-20 had flown for the first time in 2011. As for the H-20, China has been promising to reveal it for some time and it is believed that this will finally happen. Then we will know if the Gaobeidian model is in fact a teaser for the long-awaited bomber.


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