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Y-20 Kunpeng

Xinhua reported 28 December 2012 that China is developing Y-20 large transport aircraft to meet its military modernization drive, a Ministry of Defense spokesman said 27 December 2012. "We are developing large transport aircraft on our own to improve the capability of air transport," spokesman Yang Yujun said at a monthly news briefing held days after photos of a Y-20 appeared online. "The advanced long-range carrier is being developed to serve the military modernization drive, as well as to meet demands in disaster relief work and humanitarian aid in emergency situations, he added. The spokesman did not say when the Y-20s will be fitted out in force, only saying "the research and development of the large transport aircraft is going forward as planned." There will be a series of steps before the carriers are fitted out, "as the technology is complicated," he added.

During a June 2016 technology exhibition in Beijing, the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) elaborated on these plans. "More than 1,000 Y-20s will be needed," Zhu Qian, head of AVIC's Large Aircraft Development Office told reporters, according to IHS Jane. One thousand aircraft is a significant increase from earlier reports that suggested Beijing would acquire some 400. According to Zhu, the new estimate is "based on the experience of the United States and Russia."

"I can't tell you the exact time planned for delivery, but ... it will be carried out very soon," Zhu Qian said. Zhu said the military and many civilian sectors will benefit greatly from delivery of the Y-20. The plane's engines will initially be imported, but it is only a matter of time before the Y-20 is equipped with domestically developed engines, he said.

Painted grey and carrying national flags and yellow serial numbers on their tails, two Y-20 planes, China's homegrown large transport aircraft, officially joined the People's Liberation Army Air Force on 06 July 2016. Designed and manufactured by state-owned aviation giant the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), the Y-20 took its maiden flight in January 2013, and made its debut at the 10th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in November 2014. In June 2016, the first two Y-20 planes were delivered to the Air Force, after five years of design and manufacture as well as another four years of test flights. According to the AVIC, the time between the start of the design and the Y-20's flight was around half that of similar aircraft in other countries.

China's domestically developed large transport aircraft Y-20 for the first time conducted a large-scale military operation in a situation other than war, arriving 13 February 2020 in Wuhan, epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak with medical reinforcements and supplies to join the battle against the epidemic. The arrival of the homemade strategic aircraft became another confidence boost to the Chinese people, and showed China's determination to eliminate the coronavirus threat as quickly and effectively as possible, analysts said. A total of 11 transport aircraft of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force, including multiple Y-20s, Il-76s and Y-9s, arrived at Wuhan's Tianhe International Airport from multiple locations across China, carrying a military medical team of 947 people and 74 tons of medical supplies, media reported on Thursday.

This was the first time the Y-20 had conducted a large-scale military operation in a situation other than war, and also the first time the PLA Air Force has conducted a large-scale emergency aerial delivery mission systematically featuring large and mid-sized cargo planes. Seeing the Y-20, a symbol of China's power in action, become a confidence boost for Chinese public. "Go forward, Chinese military! Let the great hawk spread its wings and expel the plague!" read a typical comment on the social platform Sina Weibo.

Overall, Yun-20's performance is better than Russia's Il-76, which is comparable to its latest improved Il-476. It is slightly lower than C-17 in carrying capacity. The Yun-20 may become a strong competitor of the Il-76 and C-17 in the international market in the future.

According to Russia s Links website, March 19, 2013, China will expand to the international market in the future. Marketing its newly developed Yun-20 strategic military transport aircraft. Xi'an Aircraft Industry Group Corporation announced that after the project enters the mass production stage, several versions of Yun-20 will be exported. However, the company did not indicate the differences between these versions. Some military experts point out that once China starts to market its new transport aircraft, it will compete directly with the Russian Il-76 and the US C-17 in the international market. Although Venezuela and several African countries may become potential buyers of Yun-20, no country has formally offered to purchase this kind of transport aircraft.

Although the 200-ton large transport aircraft has a carrying capacity of about 60 tons and can carry heavy equipment such as Type 99 tanks, it is still a medium-sized quasi-strategic transport aircraft. "Science and Technology Daily" published on June 3, 2016 an article quoting AVIC sources. The responsible person said that following the 200-ton large-scale transport aircraft, the development of 300-ton, 400-ton, and even 600-ton large-scale transport aircraft will gradually advance. The largest take-off weight of the US military's largest transport aircraft C-5 is about 380 tons, the maximum take-off weight of the C-17 is 265 tons, and the maximum take-off weight of the largest Russian active transport aircraft An-124 is up to 400 tons.

Du Wenlong said that if the tonnage of a large transport aircraft increases and its combat radius increases, its range of use will further expand, and we hope that this number will continue to increase. If China's army has a large transport platform of 400 to 600 tons in the future, whether it is at sea or in the air, it will be able to send more equipment and materials to designated areas as soon as possible. Therefore, the larger the large transport aircraft, the better, and the more the better.




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