China is developing a new long-range bomber, the head of China’s air force announced Friday. The Chinese state-run Global Times reported Ma Xiaotian said the country has improved its ability to strike foreign targets and that a “new generation” bomber will be seen “in the future,” but did not provide any details about the program, according to Reuters. In a white paper released last year, China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force said it will continue to bolster its strategic projection capabilities among others as it shifts from a “territorial air defense strategy” to one that includes offensive measures. In August, China flew a fleet of bombers, fighters, and other aircraft over the Spratly Islands and the Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea as a show of force in the area where tensions remain high. (See also: China Expansion.)
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.