The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force Y-20 heavy transport aircraft has undergone its first airborne and air delivery training, Xinhua reported citing the air force on Tuesday.
According to Shen Jinke, spokesperson of the air force, it marked a leap in the air force’s strategic delivery and long-distance airborne combat abilities.
The air force is a strategic service, and its strategic capability should be in line with the constantly expanding national interests so it can carry out diverse military missions, said Shen.
The strategic capability of the air force should be able to extend wherever China’s national interests reach to provide reliable air security assurance for the country’s development, he added.
Xi’an Y-20 (Yùn-20; “transport-20”) is a large military transport aircraft developed for the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force.
The project is being developed by Xi’an Aircraft Industrial Corporation and was officially launched in 2006. The official codename of the aircraft is Kunpeng after the mythical bird of ancient China that can fly for thousands of kilometres.
The Y-20 is powered by four 12-ton thrust Soloviev D-30KP-2 turbofan engines. The Chinese intend to replace the D-30 with the 14-ton thrust WS-20, which is required for the Y-20 to achieve its maximum cargo capacity of 66 tons.
The aircraft has a maximum takeoff weight of around 200 tonnes, can carry a payload of 66 tonnes and has a range of 4,500 km with maximum payload.
The Y-20, which joined the PLAAF service in July 2016, is ideal for transporting cargo and people over long distances in diverse weather conditions.