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Shenyang Y-30 medium transport

In addition to the Y-20 jet transport, Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (SAC) of Aviation Industry Corp of China is working on a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft, the Y-30. The transport Y-30 has a takeoff weight of 80 tons and a planned load of 30 tons. The type has apparently grown during the studies, since Avic has previously mentioned plans for a transport aircraft of about 60 tons gross weight. It will be Chinas mainstream carrier aircraft. The Y-30 would compatible with newer generation wheeled vehicles, which are larger and heavier than their predecessors. The Type 09 vehicles, slated to become the backbone of China's land forces, would use the Y-30 and not have to rely on the heavier Xian Y-20.

In the late 1990s China first announced a replacement for the Y-8 - the planned aircraft was known as the Y-8X. Over time this new aircraft gradually evolved into what is now known as the Y-9 from Shaanxi. But the Y-9 is an improved Y-8, rather than a clean sheet design. The Y-9 is comparable to the Lockheed Martin C-130J-30, while the Y-30 would be somewhat below the Airbus A-400M.

A model of the Y-30 was on show in the AVIC pavilion Nov. 11-16, 2014 at the 10th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition, known as Airshow China, in Zhuhai, Guangdong province. The model of the four-engine aircraft appears to correspond with the 60-metric-ton (130,000 lb.) airlifter that the manufacturer had previously mentioned as a project, although the powerplants that were probably available to the aircraft should be adequate for a gross weight of more than 80 tons. The aircraft featured a high-wing, body-mounted main landing gear with two tandem wheels on each side, a T-tail and six-bladed propellers. No designation is given, except the classification of medium transport. During the show, the Chinese companies reported the launch of the project to build a transport aircraft with four propellers Y-30, which was not known before. The body diameter is greater than that of Chinas current airlifters in this category, the Y-8 (a locally built version of the Antonov An-12) and the Y-9 (a heavily modernized Y-8). The Y-8 and Y-9 are products of Shaanxi Aircraft, part of large-airplane specialist Avic Aircraft. If China developed this device, capable of carrying up to 20 tons of payload, it will develop an attractive export product.

The Y-30 is a step forward compared to aircraft Y-8C and Y-9 with the PRC currently has. The new device operating range is very important, and it will be equipped with new engines, more modern and fuel efficient. In this aircraft will be equipped with a hold more spacious and comfortable, capable of carrying several types of equipment. If heavy type aircraft Il-76 and Y-20 will interest only the rich countries, the Y-30 will be exported to markets in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

The Y-30 aircraft had four powerful turboprop engines and wider cargo compartment. The Y-30 is a 80-100 ton transport plane, with a payload of between 30-40 tons. With wider lower manufacturing cost due to the use of composite materials, the aircraft would replace the Y-8, Chinese version of the Russian An-12 after it is inducted in service. The developments demonstrated the Chinese military paying special attention to the mobility of the PLA through the development of simpler and cheaper large transport aircraft that can also be stored at smaller airports.

Observers expected the Y-30 to introduce improved take-off and landing capabilities, but it may be several years before the aircraft becomes a reality. The airlifter would go into service in the 2020s if the factory working on the project, Shaanxi Aircraft, was given a go-ahead as expected. As of 2014 the program was at the stage of concept design, and full-scale development could begin in about two years. A first flight could take place in 2020.

Many conceptual designs were under consideration, some with turbofan propulsion. A turboprop engine option is the WJ-16. This new engine, the status of which was unknown in the West as of 2014, was supposed to generate 3,782 kw (5,072 hp). This would give the Y-30 a much lower power-to-weight ratio than that of the C-130J Hercules. If the Avic aircraft were powered by the WJ-16 and had the same power-to-weight ratio as the C-130J, then its gross weight would be about 88 tons. Another new engine, the 5,000-kw [(6,700-7,560 hp] WJ-10, could be used, giving a much higher power-to-weight ratio, akin to that of the A400M.

If jet propulsion was chosen, there would be two engines, with the aircraft comparable in configuration to the KC-390. No potential turbofan was initially identified, but a likely candidate was the WS-20, under development for the four-engine Y-20 transport. The jet option may not be promising, as the WS-20 in its current form was not a particularly advanced engine.

The maximum speed of the Y-30 would be 600-700 kph (370-440 mph). That range of values reflected the uncertainty over propulsion, but did not include jet or WJ-10 options, which would produce a faster speed. The aircraft would be able to fly 6,000-7,000 km with an unstated payload.

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Page last modified: 13-09-2016 18:47:39 ZULU