Chinese defense officials say Beijing needs to develop a long-range strategic bomber capable of striking enemies farther away from its coast in the event of a conflict.
The Chinese government has ramped up defense spending in recent years, particularly on its navy, which has commissioned its first aircraft carrier and is adding to its submarine and surface fleets.
But according to the latest issue of Kanwa Defence Review, a Canada-based defense and weapons technology publication, a meeting of Chinese military officials recently deemed the country’s air force to be a “strategic force” – a title previously reserved for the Second Artillery Corps, the country’s de facto strategic missile force.
Officers at the meeting reportedly urged the Chinese air force to prioritize the development of a long-range strategic bomber – an aircraft that can carry more than 10 metric tons of air-to-ground weaponry and fly at least 5,000 miles without refueling.
The meeting agreed that a long-range strategic bomber would enable the air force to attack farther out into the Pacific Ocean, as far as the “second island chain,” Agence France-Presse reported.
While the precise boundaries of these chains have never been officially defined, the “first island chain” refers to the arc stretching from Japan to Taiwan, which includes numerous US military bases on the Japanese island of Okinawa.
The second chain refers to islands farther east in the Pacific, including the Marianas, the Carolines, and the US territory of Guam, home to Andersen Air Force Base. A third “island chain” encompassing Hawaii is also sometimes mentioned, AFP reported.
Full article: China: We Need Long-Range Strategic Bombers (Sputnik News)