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March 15th, 2008
China baffles world with mystery bomber
China's H-8 stealth bomber may be more advanced than the American B-2A and capable of delivering a 350-kiloton nuclear warhead to the continental U.S., or it could be a mock-up of the A-12 "Flying Dorito."
Those are just two of the rumors accompanying a video trumpeting some recent triumphs of Chinese aviation. Although it's "top secret," Chinese quasi-official Web sites brag that the Xian H-8 is a carbon-fiber, "special nanotechnology"-coated, stealth, strategic, heavy bomber all rolled into one.
What we know for sure is that it has a range of 11,000 kilometers, without refueling, but it could refuel if it wanted to--possibly. In any case, it has extra-large fuel tanks. It has a crew of two and travels at Mach 1.2, or maybe 1.4. It carries an 18-ton bomb payload and/or 12 new Stealth cruise missiles with a range of 3,000 kilometers. And three nuclear missiles, at least.
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