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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Beijing Develops New Long Range Bomber as Part of 'Transformation' Process

Sputnik News

22:00 02.09.2016(updated 23:29 02.09.2016)

Chinese Air Force chief Ma Xiaotian told state media Friday that China is developing a new long-range bomber as part of an initiative to modernize the country's military.

At an Air Force Open Day, Ma told the Global Times that China's capabilities in striking distant targets has increased, and that more development is forthcoming.

"We are now developing a new generation of long-range bomber, and you'll see it in the future," he said, giving no further details.

Ma's announcement comes a year after Beijing revealed a next-generation H-6K strategic bomber. Armed with DH-20 land-attack cruise missiles, the new bomber has the ability to strikes targets as far away from the Chinese mainland as Australia.

The aircraft has flown patrols over the South China Sea, the center of a regional dispute, as well as numerous training missions over the Western Pacific.

China has recently intensified research into new military technology, including anti-satellite missiles, aircraft carriers and submarines, causing some anxiety in Washington and throughout the region, as this indicates a more aggressive approach to the South China Sea issue and other conflicts.

A newly-developed Chinese Y-20 large-transport aircraft was put into service in July. The Chinese Air Force is also developing stealth fighters, a marked change after years of using Russian aircraft duplicates. The Y-20 currently uses a Russian engine.

The US Defense Department, in its annual report on Chinese military issues, said that despite a languid economy, China will likely maintain its current rate of defense spending.

US deputy assistant secretary of defense for East Asia, Abraham M. Denmark, said in a statement, "From 2006 to 2015, China's officially disclosed military budget grew at an average of 9.8 percent per year in inflation-adjusted terms," adding, "The true expenditure, DoD estimates, in terms of total military-related spending for 2015, exceeded $180 billion in 2015."

For its next generation of cruise missiles China is moving to develop advanced automation and artificial intelligence. Wang Changqing, of the China Aerospace and Industry Corporation, told the China Daily newspaper, "We plan to adopt a 'plug and play' approach in the development of new cruise missiles, which will enable our military commanders to tailor-make missiles in accordance with combat conditions."

Ma called the developments a part of the Air Force's "transformation" process, with a focus on quality instead of sheer numbers.


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