XAC Y-20 | Heavy transport aircraft

XAC Y-20
XAC Y-20

Militarymedia.net | The Y-20 is China's new transport aircraft. It is also known as the Kunpeng, a legendary bird from Chinese mythology. The aircraft was developed by Xian Aircraft Corporation (XAC) with the help of Russia and Ukraine. Nevertheless it was the first heavy airlifter developed in China. Construction began in the 1990s. In 2000 the Antonov Design Bureau of Ukraine offered to use their An-70 military transport design as a base model. At that time the An-70's design was still untested. The proposition was negotiated, but ultimately China left the offer unanswered. In 2006 the program became a national priority. Since 2006 construction has been assisted by the Antonov Design Bureau of Ukraine. The joint project is known in Ukraine as the An-70-600. It was essentially a larger, turbofan-powered version of the An-70. The Y-20 made its first flight in 2013. China became the fourth country in the world, after the United States, Russia and Ukraine, to develop a 200-ton military cargo jet. This is a milestone in China's defense industry. Y-20 series production began in 2015. The aircraft entered service with the Chinese air force in 2016. Some sources report, as of 2016 a total of 8 aircraft were built. It is likely that a large number of these aircraft will be ordered. The new Y-20 may partially replace the older Y-8 transport (unlicensed copy of the Soviet An-12). It is possible that this aircraft will be proposed for export customers.

The Y-20 has a payload capacity of approximately 60-66 t. It can carry most combat and support vehicles, including the Type 99 series main battle tank. In 2010 some changes were actually made to the aircraft design to carry these tanks.

As an alternative to cargo and vehicles, the Y-20 can accommodate about 300 troops, 200 liters or about 110 paratroopers.

Previously only Russia, Ukraine and the US were able to develop and manufacture heavy military cargo aircraft with such a payload capacity. In terms of payload, the Y-20 fits between the larger Boeing C-17 Globemaster III (77 t) and the similar size Russian Ilyushin Il-76 (50 t). It should be noted that the Il-76 is in service with the Chinese air force. But the Y-20 is also superior to the Il-76 in terms of setup and aerodynamic performance.

The Y-20 has enough range to cover most of Europe, Africa, Australia and Alaska. It can even be seen as a strategic transport aircraft. Previously China did not have such a heavy military transport capability.

The layout of the Y-20 is typical for modern military heavy transport aircraft. It is powered by four Russian D-30KP2 turbofan engines. It was developed by the Solovyev Design Bureau in the 1960s. It has been reported that in the future the original WS-20 engine will be used.

The Y-20 has many features of the Ukrainian An-70 military transport. Also shows some Boeing C-17 influences in the tail and cargo compartment. Composite materials are widely used in the fuselage to keep the weight low.

The Y-20's performance is superior to the Il-76. These planes can land at small airports in mountainous areas.

The aircraft is operated by a crew of three, including two pilots and a loadmaster.

By developing this transport aircraft, China is accumulating design, technology and production capabilities. China devotes major resources to the development of military transportation. It is likely that China will continue to develop large and heavy transport aircraft.

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