China Says Missile Simulation Shot Down B-21

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Chinese researchers say they’ve already shot down a B-21 Raider in a computer simulation and they’re confident the $700 million bomber, along with all other Western stealth aircraft, will be sitting ducks for its hypersonic missiles. The B-21 has just begun flight testing at Edwards Air Force Base and won’t be flying over Asia anytime soon. But according to the Eurasian Times (quoting the South China Morning Post), scientists at the Northwestern Polytechnical University in Xian claim they’ve tested new tactics and technology that exploit a flaw in the Raider’s defenses by attacking the bomber from above. “In one war game, a B-21-like stealth platform and its companion drone were both shot down by China’s air-to-air missiles, which can reach a top speed of Mach 6,” the report said. 

While that seems like something Northrop Grumman and the Air Force might have anticipated, the scientists claim there’s something the brainiacs in the high desert didn’t factor in. In their simulation, the B-21 took evasive action but it didn’t consider a second missile going after the Raider’s accompanying drone. The missiles switched targets and the one headed for the drone changed direction and took out the B-21. The drone was then nailed by the missile originally headed for the bomber. As simplistic as it sounds, there might actually be a breakthrough in there. Like spacecraft reentering the atmosphere, hypersonic missiles blasting toward a target at Mach 6 are normally blacked out from external communications because of the heat of friction with the air. The Chinese have said they’ve figured out how to maintain continuous communications with their hypersonic missiles, leading to the course corrections of the missiles and simulated defeat of the Raider.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

43 COMMENTS

  1. Raf Sierra November 22, 2020 At 12:41 pm

    The damage is done – the PRC is still ahead by 30 points in the fourth quarter. The People’s Republic of China, the largest economy in the world by PPP since 2014, the second largest by nominal GDP since 2010, the world’s largest manufacturing economy since 2010, and the second-wealthiest nation in the world, keeps on gobbling up technology R&D free while gaining in military strength. Yep, looks like, IMO, we’re toast!

    >>>Update, November 28, 2023:

    “Good evening, Mr. and Mrs. America, and all the ships at sea.”

    The PRC has continued to grow its economy and military strength in the years since this comment was written. In 2023, the PRC is the world’s largest economy by both PPP and nominal GDP. It is also the world’s largest manufacturing economy and the second-wealthiest nation in the world. The PRC has also made significant investments in technology R&D, and it is now a leader in many areas of commercial and military technology.

    The PRC’s growing economic and military strength is of worldwide concern including the United States. Some ideological thinkers, believe that the PRC is a threat to the United States and its allies in the future. Others believe that the PRC is more likely to cooperate with the United States. Yea, right, we’re toast!

    • Perhaps just a bit less cable news and a bit more personal research is in order here. First, China has a brewing undercurrent of economic woes. Having been in ML China quite a bit, it is quite visible. People want cars, refrigerators etc. people have ceased the trek from rural to urban because of a housing crisis. Second, if China really had a way to back up their bragging why would they make it public? If you had that technology why would you tell your adversary during their testing phase when they can make adjustments? It probably is to stall the US deployment while US engineers check the claims plausibility.
      I am pretty sure these unsubstantiated claims will soon be flamboyantly represented on Tik Tok.

  2. So in a computer simulation, they claim to have defeated the B-21. While stealth technology can (and has been) defeated (often through a weakness in deployment tactics rather than technology), somehow I can’t help but think that they’re leaving certain details out of their “report”. Like anticipating where the aircraft are coming from (like how the F-117 was shot down) and/or having a good idea of the expected ETA. Or maybe they underestimated the RCS of the aircraft.

    I’m not saying that the threat (and it is a threat) shouldn’t be taken seriously, but the PRC has shown itself to be untrustworthy and often stretching the truth, so I’m not taking it at face value. And in any case, it’s usually the tactics of how a military aparatus is deployed that is its weakness, moreso than what is being deployed. Otherwise, smaller militaries would always lose to larger militaries.

    In any case, the US is not likely going to be taken down externally. The US will kill itself internally before that happens.

  3. Interestingly, the US unwittingly seems to have funded Chinese growth by having many US companies falling over themselves rushing to establish manufacturing plants there in the constant drive to cut costs (also unemploying American workers in the process). There is no free lunch.

    • Who could’ve possibly seen this coming? *eyeroll*. So many CEOs and top execs are either working with the chinese or have been bribed. It’s anecdotal, but I’ve seen it personally. Long story short this guy stabbed everyone in the back and made off like a bandit. Self serving people always find their way to the top of an organization.

    • Why is it that crazy people want to rule the World??
      As a ruler of the World, you could provide valuable insight, on just what makes these people (psychopaths) tick…Not that you are one!
      You are one of the better ones. 😊
      I just want to know, at what point, when they wake up in the morning do they think they should be in charge of everyone, and everything??
      I see it as a psychological defect, that allows them to believe they are God, and have all the answers to all the questions.

  4. Uh huh. A computer simulation of an aircraft that isn’t deployed yet and still in development. remember the old computer programming caveat: GIGO — garbage in-garbage out.

    • Right? A computer simulation without correlation is useless. How did they correlate the simulation to a new as yet untested aircraft? Maybe they hacked Northrop Grumman….

    • I can do that kind of simulation in less than 8 hours. The problem is how can I send that to the chinese comms government so they see it really could work if the electronic communications with thisr kind of people is jammed by themselves?😂😂😂

  5. As if China is going to publicly say, “we tried and we just cant shoot down the B-21…….if you actually believe them put your head back in the sand. China’s economy is bad, their population numbers are tanking loss of over 800,000 this year. Don’t believe all this hype BS. China is NOT as great as the left and the current administration wants you to believe.

    • Indeed. As previous posters commented. It is disturbing when Americans see other Americans as a greater existential threat than Russian or Chinese threats which are very real.

      As the character FBI Agent Stan Beeman says in the T.V. series ‘The Americans’, “You and me don’t have much in common, but we’re both goddamn Americans, right?”

    • This is clearly propaganda but it doesn’t mean it can’t be true in five years. And yes, China May not be perfect but they will reach their stated goals 2030, 2040, 2050 etc.

      They unlike US don’t have partisan bickering dividing our nation. So much easier to conquer when your divided

  6. After a superficial, over-the-keyboard research, for illustrative purposes only, it seems as if China, starting from the 1990s to date, has hypothetically expanded more in areas like the economy, military, technology, and global influence compared to the United States. A rough global estimate might be that China’s growth is around 150%, while the United States’ growth is around 75%. These are just simple guesses, not exact numbers, to give a general idea that China has seen more significant overall growth than the United States since the last 25 years.

    Hypothetical Percentage Growth Chart (1990s to Present)

    China Economic Growth: 150% vs US 75%
    China Military Growth: 130% vs US 100%
    China Technological Growth: 160% vs US 120%
    China Global Influence: 140% vs US 100%

    • As a Navy guy, the stat that stood out to me several years ago was the manufacturing capabilities of shipbuilding. They can outbuild us, navy-wise, at a ratio of 200:1 (!!!). Who cares if we have “better” naval technologies with those numbers in play…

  7. Reminds me of the Soviets bragging about everything in the few decades before their demise. Is it just a communist thing? Probably not, but bravado is often used in place of competence. I believe many pilots might admit to it. 🙂

  8. Y’all keep landing at Meigs while China’s growth is ostensibly climbing at 150%, while the United States is seemingly cruising along at a mere 75%.

  9. Most likely propaganda. Let’s see turn do it in the real world, then we’ll talk.

    In other news, my simulated spaceship shot down every one of their hypersonic missiles within seconds of launch.

  10. If China’s hypersonic missiles work as well as the junky USB hubs, light dimmers, and other assorted electronic tschotchkies they send us, we have nothing to worry about.

    • Ya took the wind outta my sails, Michele. If their missiles are made by the same people who build all the crap I buy from Harbor Freight Tool … we have nothing to worry about. If they’re built by the same people who built the quad, truckster and Honda clone CT70 I have in my hangar, we have nothing to worry about.

      I served 21 years in the USAF during the Cold War. Russia was the big bad guy that we built all sorts of hardware to guard against. Now, they can’t even kick Ukraine’s ass. Same thing’ll happen to the little slanty eye’d dudes over in Asia.

      • …and there’s the racism I figured would be present here before too long. Not surprised at the source, either.

        For the record, Harbor Freight’s manufacturers produce exactly what the American consumers demand – low prices, low quality. They’d be stupid not to when we keep buying it. But there are plenty of places you can look to see high quality products coming from China too, where the demand exists. If you think China is incapable of producing quality products you’re being willfully blind.

        • State your qualifications to have an opinion. What did YOU do in the military. What is your knowledge base of Chinese products. What is your aerospace expertise?

  11. If China truly did figure out a way to exploit the defenses of the most advanced US weapon (a weopon that hasn’t even been fielded yet), why would they announce to the world exactly how they did it?

    • Roger, I believe there might be a misunderstanding, “(From you)”, regarding my post. The numbers I referenced are sourced from think tanks, the CIA, Bloomberg, the World Economic Forum, the Peterson Institute of International Economics, and other reputable sources. My comments are intended to highlight that China is steadily gaining militarily and in global influence. I am concerned that we may be neglecting this trend, and if the current trend continues, China could eventually dominate. Personally, I do not like the prospect.

  12. Hell, they can’t even get the iPhone done right. From Android: Aug 4, 2023 · Still, most factories dedicated to assembling the iPhone remain in China. The largest one, operated by manufacturing partner Hon Hai Technology Group (Foxconn), is located in Zhengzhou.

    So we are to believe this crock?

  13. Raf, have you moved to Hefei yet? A recent poll rated 10 cities with the most potential to appeal to expats, namely Nanjing, Wuxi, Wuhan, Tianjin, Kunming, Dongguan, Changsha, Quanzhou, Hefei and Yantai.

    • Frank, I presented statistics to call attention to China’s metastasizing force, marked by their insolent display of arrogance, even in simulated scenarios like the B-21 missile shot. This could be an attempt to gauge American public reactions or engage in psychological warfare or perhaps as a Nationalistic brag – it’s unclear. However, there’s concern that we might be downplaying the escalating threat they pose. If this trend persists, there’s a risk of China asserting global dominance. I definetly would not like that!

      • History does not bode well for people / rulers / countries that want to rule the World.
        Ask Hitler,
        ask the Emperor of Japan,
        ask Sadom Hussain,
        ask Muammar Gaddafi
        Vladimir Putin hasn’t gotten the memo yet, but he will.
        That little chubby, fat kid up in North Korea also hasn’t read any history books.
        None of these people understand the American mindset.

        • Considering the extraordinarily divided state of the American ‘mindset’ today and the new paradigm of global economics, communication and military prowess, I find the basically regional conflicts cited to be irrelevant when seen in such a powerful and insidious manner that China’s ‘mindset’ is planning. And they are planning, do not doubt. They may be going through temporary economic changes, cultural too, but we need vigilance on this.

          I’m easily with Raf here – I do not want to test either their capabilities or our so-called American mindset for any reason. Much prefer to stay ahead of the game instead of blowing it off with past laurels of the American mindset. Danger, Will Robinson.

  14. Wow– in a Computer simulation they destroyed the U.S.A. ??
    In a Computer simulation, I flew to Mars and back!
    Everybody talks trash before the bullets start flying, and their friends and neighbors get blown up!
    Only then do they realize they have woken a sleeping giant!
    Maybe one of their Scientists have read a history book, and can tell me what the little nugget of prediction I just dropped ??
    Maybe they should speak to an American analyst who can tell them how Americans think ?? And what will happen to them if they start a War with America.
    I’ll bet their simulators don’t tell them that!
    Or better yet– Ask the Japanese ??(who were kicking their ass through much of World War Two)
    They could tell them exactly what will happen.

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