New photos released on Chinese internet recently show that two new aircrafts of China’s first homemade large transport airplane Y-20 (numbered 785 and 788) had been manufactured, but there had been no authoritative information about them until today.
People’s Daily reported today that in a recent interview of Beijing TV, Chinese air force expert Fu Qianshao said Y-20’s test flights are successfully and may enter service very soon.
The formal silver coating of No. 785 and 788 Y-20 indicates that this type of transport aircraft is about to enter service. And the long range of Xian Y-20 means qualitative leap of strategic projection capability of China, and PLA will be able to implement more military missions.
Besides, an executive of AVIC said in his recent New Year Address that AVIC had completed various jobs of the large transport plane by 2015. The “large transport plane” obviously means China’s homemade Y-20, and therefore Y-20 may now be under the final review and probably enter service this year.
Fu Qianshao said Y-20 will be provided to both Chinese air force’s and navy’s transportation troops, and will be ungraded in the future.
China’s homemade Y-20 transport aircraft made its maiden flight three years ago, marking that China had become the fourth country able to develop 200-ton large military transport aircraft after U.S., Russia and Ukraine.
Fu said once Y-20 enters service, transport troops of the air force and navy will finally have relatively complete systems and thus see significant improvement of fight capacity. Besides, with large inside space and load, Y-20 can be modified to special mission aircrafts by adding electronic equipment and personnel console.
It has been analyzed that Y-20 will be modified to large refueling plane, early warning aircraft, electronic warfare plane and surveillance aircraft before.
Another military expert said that the reason why research and development of Y-20 could be finished rapidly is that Chinese military desperately needs a large homemade transport aircraft, as it could only count on Russia’s IL-76 in the past, but Russia’s poor production capability has been far from sufficient to meet China’s demands.
Besides, AVIC chose the right technical approach for Y-20, ensuring smooth progress of its R&D.
At present, Y-20 transport aircraft is using four D-30KU engines from Russia, and the homemade engine is still under development.
Chinese media reported in February 2015 that the China’s homemade WS-20 engine might have been equipped to Y-20 in its test flights, and a model of high bypass ratio turbofan engine had been exhibited on 2012 Zhuhai Aviation Show.
Chinese Air Force Major General Qiao Liang unveiled in 2013 that development of China’s homemade engine for Y-20 transport aircraft was about to complete, which would increase its load weight by about 10 tons.