China may need to buy large transport planes from Russia: report
Central News Agency
Hong Kong, Dec. 28 (CNA) China may have to purchase large transport planes from Russia to supplement its own aircraft to build a strategic air force, an article in a Chinese media outlet said Friday.
According to Sina.com, which cited an analysis from the website of Dongfang Zaobao, if China wants to build a strategic air force, it will have to have the capability to transport military forces quickly.
Conservative estimates put China's needs for the task at more than 100 large military transport planes, and Beijing is developing its own large military transport plane -- the Yun-20 (Y-20) -- to help meet the target, the article said .
But the new planes will not enter their final test production stage until 2017, meaning China's military cannot rely solely on the Y-20 to reach the goal, the article said.
One possibility to bridge the gap would be to purchase some Ilyushin Il-476 transport planes as it develops its own planes, the article said.
According to the report, ground testing has just begun on the new transport plane, and test flights will begin after the Lunar New Year.
If everything goes smoothly, years of test flights will be needed before it reaches the final test production stage in 2017.
There will also be strong demand for other aircraft, such as mid-air refueling planes and airborne early warning planes, the article said.
Meanwhile, a Hong Kong newspaper said Friday that the maximum payload for China's Y-20 is 60 metric tons.
Its length is 47 meters, and wingspan is 45 meters with a maximum takeoff weight of 220 metric tons. Its cruise speed is about 630 km per hour, and the service ceiling is 13,000 meters, Wen Wei Po said.
(By Stanley Cheung and Lilian Wu)
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