Shaanxi Y-8 | Tactical transport aircraft

Shaanxi Y-8
Shaanxi Y-8

Militarymedia.net | The Shaanxi Y-8 is an unlicensed Chinese copy of the Soviet Antonov An-12. In the 1960s China purchased several An-12 transport aircraft, along with a license to assemble them locally. However, due to the Sino-Soviet split, the Soviet Union withdrew its technical assistance. In 1969 the Xian Aviation Company began to reverse engineer this aircraft for local production. The Y-8 made its first flight in 1974. Then production moved from Xian to the Shaanxi Aircraft Factory. Production began in 1981. Although by the early 1980s the original An-12 was outdated and the Soviets were looking for a replacement, it recommended itself well. An estimated 169 Y-8 aircraft were produced as of 2010. The Y-8 has become one of China's most popular military and civil transport aircraft. It has become one of the largest transport aircraft in China. The Y-8 has been exported to Burma, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tanzania, Venezuela and possibly some other countries.

The Y-8 has a glazed nose, but differs from the An-12. This tactical airlifter is equipped with four WJ-6 turboprop engines.

The Y-8 has a payload capacity of 20 tonnes. It can carry troops, various military cargo, drop supplies and paratroopers. It can also carry out medical evacuation missions. The Y-8 houses about 96 soldiers or 82 paratroopers, or up to 80 wounded soldiers with medics. The first production models were equipped with side-hinged cargo doors that opened inward. In later models, this was replaced by a ramp to facilitate loading and unloading operations. These aircraft can operate on unprepared runways.

Lockheed Martin assisted Shaanxi in the development and production of a pressurized cabin for the passenger version of the Y-8. Two versions with a pressurized cab were developed. The former has a half pressurized cab and the second has a fully pressurized cab.

This cargo plane is equipped with a tail turret for self-defense. It came from the H-6 bomber. It was armed with two 23 mm cannon. In later production models this tail tower was removed. During the civil war, several Sri Lankan Air Force Y-8 aircraft were used to drop bombs through the rear cargo door.

The initial production model had a crew of five, including two pilots, flight engineer, navigator and radio operator. On later models, the crew was reduced to three, including two pilots and a loadmaster.

Around 30 variants of this aircraft were produced. Including for special roles. New modifications keep popping up. Only a few of them are covered here.

Shaanxi Y-8
Shaanxi Y-8

Shaanxi Y-8 Variant

Y-8CA and Y-8CB electronic countermeasures aircraft.

Y-8D export version with Western avionics.

Y-8FQ maritime patrol aircraft.

Y-8G air command post and electronic countermeasures aircraft.

Y-8J range of AWACS, ELINT and electronic warfare aircraft.

The Y-8K is a modified version for carrying passengers. It accommodates 120 passengers.

Y-8T command post and battlefield reconnaissance aircraft.

Y-8X maritime patrol aircraft with Western radar, avionics, mission systems and defense aids.

The Y-8XZ is a psychological warfare aircraft.

Y-8W airborne early warning aircraft.

The Y-8F-200 is an enhanced version with a reduced crew size. Originally proposed as a civilian aircraft, it has been exported to Myanmar, Tanzania and Venezuela, where it is used by the military.

The Y-8F-400 is another improved version.

The Y-8F-600 is an expanded version, developed in collaboration with the Antonov Design Bureau of Ukraine. Development began in 2001. The aircraft is equipped with Canadian Pratt & Whitney PW150B engines and Honeywell avionics. It can operate with a reduced crew of 2 or 3 people.

KJ-200 airborne early warning aircraft, based on the Y-8F-600. It is equipped with an Active Electronically-Scanned Array (AESA) radar, which is visually similar to the SAAB Erieye system. This aircraft has a number of features of the Y-9, although it appeared a little earlier.

The ZDK-03 is an airborne early warning aircraft with a fixed radome. The first aircraft were delivered to Pakistan in 2011.

The ZDK-06 is another airborne early warning aircraft.

The Y-9, is a significantly stretched and upgraded version of the Y-8 with greater payload and range. It can carry 25 t of cargo. Development began in 2001 and was assisted by the Antonov Design Bureau of Ukraine. It was China's attempt to build a tactical transport aircraft, comparable to the C-130J Super Hercules. The Y-9 made its first flight in 2010. It entered service in 2012. It is currently being mass produced and replacing the older Y-8 transport.

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