The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) recently published China Military Power, a report that investigates the core capabilities of China’s military.
A section in DIA’s Military Power examines how China is working on two distinct stealth bomber programs.
"The PLAAF [People's Liberation Army Air Force] is developing new medium- and long-range stealth bombers to strike regional and global targets," states the report issued last week. "Stealth technology contin - ues to play a key role in the development of these new bombers, which probably will reach initial operational capability no sooner than 2025. These new bombers will have additional capabilities, with full-spectrum upgrades com - pared with current operational bomber fleets, and will employ many fifth-generation fighter technologies in their design."
The first, is the Xian H-20, a subsonic stealth bomber design that looks similar to the Rockwell B-1 Lancer.
The second, described by Western intelligence agencies as JH-XX, is a stealth fighter-bomber, which would likely perform missions similar in scope to those of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II and Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor.
As this point, the DIA has very limited information on the stealth programs.
An October report showed that the Hong-20, or H-20, was ready for trial flights. The H-20 is widely believed to be a copy of the Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit stealth bomber.
The Military Power series is an unclassified overview, is designed to educate the public to better understand key challenges and threats to US national security.
“This product and other reports in this series are intended to inform our public, our leaders, the national security community, and partner nations about the challenges we face in the 21st century,” Lt. Gen. Ashley said.
DIA has an extended history of providing comprehensive defense intelligence overviews. Now it seems that intelligence agency is alerting the public that the modernization of China's military is coming to an inflection point that can no longer be ignored.