China’s state-run Aviation Industry Corporation of China, or AVIC, has teased what could be the first images of its long-awaited new stealth bomber.
The promotional video appears to mock the US by imitating a commercial from weapons manufacturer Northrop Grumman for the B-21 bomber.
In its final few seconds the video bears a striking resemblance to a Super Bowl commercial for the B-21 and features a caption that reads: ‘The next…’.
China has long been rumoured to be developing a new-generation long-range bomber to replace its half-century old fleet of H-6 aircraft.
US security forces expect the rumoured plane to be capable of carrying nuclear warheads when it is finally operational.
The AVIC video bears a striking resemblance a Northrop Grumman commercial for a stealth bomber it was building, which ran during the 2015 Super Bowl.
Known as the B-21 raider, there are no images of this plane and only a small amount of conceptual artwork.
Both clips show similarly shaped aircraft – each with a long wingspan and central cockpit hump – draped with white tarpaulin in a darkened hangar.
A spotlight is shown reflecting off of each aircraft in a similar fashion, and even the lights on the hangar walls appear to match.
The adverts are so similar that some people have even suggested that the Chinese version is a direct trolling of the US military.
Some viewers have theorised that the video is merely a heavily edited version of the Northrop Grumman video.
China’s state run Aviation Industry Corporation of China, or AVIC, has teased what could be the first images of its long-awaited H-20 stealth bomber. The final few seconds of the video bear a striking resemblance to the US model, and the caption ‘The next…’ appears in English
The promotional video appears to be imitating a previous advert by the US Air Force for the Northrop Grumman B-21 plane (pictured)
The five-minute clip from China’s aviation consortium showcases the company’s various civil and military products.
No official reason for the video has been announced, with several factors believed to be contributing to its release.
A reporter who specialises in aviation tech, James Drew, posted a cryptic tweet which seemed to elude to the first actual images of the B-21.
This transpired to be a public relations facade, with Mr Drew later revealing the social media post was a prank and that he will actually be joining Northrop Grumman Mission Systems as Manager of Global Media.
The timing raised questions in China, too.
After the video went viral on Chinese media, speculation was rife regarding the timing of the video as it coincided with the 60th anniversary of Xi’an Aircraft Industrial Corporation, or XAC.
XAC is the firm directly responsible for the construction of the H-20.
Lavish videos are a trademark of the company as it regularly recognises landmark anniversaries.
But the firm has never released a trailer that references US technology.
The five minute long clip from China’s aviation consortium AVIC appears to showcase the company’s various civil and military products (pictured)
China has long been rumoured to be developing a new-generation long-range bomber to replace its half-century old fleet of H-6 aircraft (artist’s impression)
Aviation industry observers said the appearance of a stealth bomber-shaped aircraft in the AVIC video suggests China may announce the plane soon.
The Chinese government sponsored military website chinamil.com.cn posted a still of the video in which the new aircraft is shown covered in cloth.
According to the site, the six-second clip was placed at the end of the video ”in an unmistakable attempt to highlight the plane’s significance and mystery’.
The cliffhanger at the end of the Chinese video video that bore a striking resemblance to the advert taken out by the US weapons manufacturer Northrop Grumman in 2015 (pictured)
China Military also quoted General Ma Xiaotian, former Chief of the Chinese Air Force, who said: ‘We are now developing a new-generation, long range strike bomber that you will see sometime in the future’.
‘I think the new bomber will be unveiled to the public in the near future,’ Shi Jian of Aviation World Monthly magazine said.
‘It is not uncommon for the PLA (People’s Liberation Army Air Force) to make public its top weapons before their delivery thanks to the increased level of transparency and confidence brought about by our technological advancement.’
In a 2017 report, the US Defence Department claimed that China’s H-20 will have the capability to evade air defences and deliver thermonuclear bombs and missiles.
A Pentagon document claimed the Asian superpower is engaged in ‘developing a strategic bomber that officials expect to have a nuclear mission.’
This ad aired during the Superbowl and stunned audiences in Washington DC and Dayton, Ohio. The Virginia-based manufacturer chose these two locations to target both the DC politicians and the Ohio-based officials in charge of US Air Force procurement (pictured)
Although nothing is known about the specification, responsibilities, capabilities or uses of the two planes, it appears the two global superpowers are very aware of one another’s developments
WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THE B-21 STEALTH BOMBER?
The Air Force planning to introduce the aircraft in mid-2020s.
-The all-black plane has a distinctive, zigzagging shape and a low profile designed to make it hard to spot on radar.
– The bomber was previously known as the Long Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B)
– The latest name, B-21, recognises the aircraft as the military’s first bomber of the 21st century,
– It is designed to be launch from the continental US and deliver airstrikes on any location in the world.
– While the new plane’s specific capabilities are highly secret, it likely will be equipped with high-tech communications gear.
-It will replace Air Force B-52 bombers, which have been flying for more than half a century
– It will also eventually the B-1 bombers, when they retire sometime in the 2040s.