Two Y-20 military transport aircraft have officially joined the People's Liberation Army Air Force, China’s Xinhua news agency reports. Designed and manufactured by state-owned aviation giant the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), the 200t aircraft made its maiden flight in January 2013, and was publicly unveiled at the 10th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in November 2014. The programme was officially launched in 2006.
In common with most military transports, the Y20 features a high-mounted wing and a T-tail. Prototypes and initial production aircraft are reportedly powered by four Russian D-30KP-2 engines (the same engine as on China’s existing Il-76 airlifter fleet), pending development of an enhanced Chinese-built engine.
Air Force spokesperson Shen Jinke was quoted as declaring: "The Y-20 entering into service marks a crucial step for the Air Force improving its strategic power projection capability."
The Air Force needs more and better transport to better fulfill its military responsibilities, including safeguarding national security as well as domestic and international rescue and relief work, Shen added.