Research and development on China’s Y-20 large transport aircraft, which ranks as a large aircraft by international standards, is going smoothly, and the level of technology is maturing in various aspects.
The Y-20 prototype aircraft can now achieve maximum take-off weight and maximum altitude, Tang Changhong, member of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), and chief designer of the Y-20 heavy-duty transport aircraft, said in an interview.
The Y-20 heavy-duty transport aircraft is a new-generation aircraft independently developed by China, with a maximum take-off weight of about 220 tons and a maximum payload of 66 tons.
“Development of the domestically designed engine which will be soon be used to equip the Y-20 has also been proceeding very smoothly. A lot of progress has been made,” said Tang.
Aircraft under initial research and development are referred to as prototypes. The first and the second Y-20 prototype aircraft made their maiden flights last year, on Jan. 26 and at the end of December respectively. During their test flights, they underwent a variety of flight checks. “The success of the test flights has verified the ‘excellent quality’ of Y-20,” said Tang.
The Y-20 pilots described their experiences during the test flights: the aircraft fly very smoothly and steadily, and they have excellent aerodynamic characteristics, take-off and landing characteristics, and carrying capacity.
Tang pointed out that the deployed numbers, technical level, and carrying capacity of large military transport aircraft are important indicators for measuring whether a country has a strategic air-force capacity. To a certain extent, the research and development of large transport aircraft can also be used to assess a country’s R & D capacity in heavy and large-scale equipment.
“The R & D demands of the Y-20 project are in line with the general development of comprehensive national power,” said Tang. Large aircraft are an indispensible item for both national security and economic construction. The capacity for independent research and development of large aircraft plays a significant role in achieving the modernization of national defense.
The Y-20 will be used mainly for the transport of equipment and materials, and for emergency rescue and earthquake relief, said Tang.