China developing new long-range strategic bomber as it rapidly upgrades its military

China’s air force is developing a new type of strategic bomber, state media reported on Friday, adding to recent progress in large aircraft production and further expanding the range of the country’s increasingly sophisticated military.

Air Force chief Ma Xiaotian discussed the development at an open-day event on Thursday, saying the bomber would significantly increase China’s long-range strike ability, the reports said.

Ma gave no other details about the aircraft or when it would be introduced, saying only that “you will see it in the future”.

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China revealed its new generation H-6K strategic bomber last year, equipped with the DH-20 land-attack cruise missile, giving it the ability to hit targets as far away as Australia. Only Russia and the US are currently able to launch cruise missiles from the air.

The plane has since flown training missions over the western Pacific and patrols over the disputed South China Sea, which China claims virtually in its entirety.

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China this year also introduced the Y-20 large military transport plane

Both planes use Russian engines, reflecting China’s weakness in producing reliable high-performance aircraft power plants.