China to Start Xian Y-20 Military Transport Aircraft Production
China will start a series production of the Xian Y-20 "Kunpeng" strategic airlifter, state-television announced the same time the go-ahead production of the Y-20 stealth fighter was revealed.
Tang Chang Hong, chief designer of the Xian Y-20, said that the People's Liberation Army Air Force approved the airlifter after eight months of operation trials.
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"The successful development of the Y-20 is a testament to Chinese industry's ability to produce large scales, high-end equipment and the master of technology by the Chinese scientists and researchers," Tang said, noting that the Y-20 would eventually allow China to manufacture bigger and more important aircraft projects.
In addition, China also wants the Xian Y-20 to re-engine and install homegrown turbofans by next year of 2019. Currently, the aircraft is equipped with four Russian Soloviev D-30KP2 turbofans that produce 10.5 tons of thrust.
The Shenyang-Liming WS-20 engines is designed to produce 14 metric tons of thrust, giving the Y-20 a maximum payload of up to 66 metric tons. The WS-20 has been flight-tested on an IL-76 testbed since 2014 and is dubbed as the most powerful Chinese engine, AIN Online reported.
Meanwhile, Xi'An Aircraft Industrial Corporation claimed last year that it could produce over 20 Y-20 annually, China Aviation News reported. But this year, the production line is not making its full potential yet because of the limited D-30 deliveries and the impending WS-20 re-engining program.
Earlier this month, Chinese media said the Y-20 could be utilized as a carrier for China's air-launched rocket system. China also plans to use the Y-20 to deploy small satellites as conventional rockets are very expensive.