(From the National Interest)
By Dave Majumdar
China is developing two new stealth fighters, stealthy unmanned aircraft, new cruise and ballistic missiles; however, Beijing thus far has not attempted to develop a new bomber. Instead, the People’s Liberation Army Air Force relies on the upgraded Xian H-6K—a derivative of the antiquated Soviet Tu-16 Badger—which is armed with a host of cruise missiles.
But given the size of the Pacific and the ranges both American and Chinese aircraft would have to fly over in the event of a conflict, it would be logical for Beijing to develop a long-range bomber that could strike at some of the more distant U.S. bases or to attack U.S. Navy carriers at sea. Moreover, if U.S. forces struck at the Chinese mainland during a war—perhaps over Taiwan—Beijing would only have two options with which to strike back. One would be nuclear weapons—which would signal the start of World War Three—or non-kinetic cyber-attacks. But it would have to means to strike back with conventional weapons. Read more