China's own domestically built military cargo jet, Y-20, will likely be put into service in the army this year, a military expert said in an interview with People's Daily Online.
According to Xu Yongling, a military expert, the test flight period for large aircraft isgenerally between three and five years. Since there have been no bottlenecks duringdevelopment or manufacturing, the Y-20 will be put into use this year.
The first flight of the Y-20 took place in 2013, making China the fourth country in theworld, following the U.S., Russia and Ukraine, to develop a 200-ton military cargo jet.
"This is not only progress for China's national defense industry, but also a milestone ofindustrial and military modernization," Xu said.
The official code name of the aircraft is Kunpeng, after the mythical bird of ancient Chinathat can fly for thousands of kilometers. However, within the Chinese aviation industry, theaircraft is more commonly known by its nickname, Chubby Girl, named by military fans forits relatively wide fuselage.
Military expert Chen Hong said in an interview with People's Daily Online that the carryingcapacity of the Y-20, around 60 tons, is higher than that of Russia’s Ilyushin Il-76, a multi-purpose four-engine turbofan strategic airlifter. The Y-20's engine, aerodynamicarrangement and combat performance are all better than those of the Russian aircraft.
The cargo jet can be used to refit significant special operations platforms, as it has a longflying period and flying distance. The Y-20 is also a good choice for maritime detection andearly warning, according to Chen.
As for future military developments, airborne transportation depends not only on the Y-20, but also on other military cargo jets, which China may develop in the next five to tenyears, according to Xu.