Expert: Y-20 will help PLA Air Force create new combat model

China Military Online
Yao Jianing
Paratroopers assigned to the airborne troops under the PLA Air Force parachute from a Y-20 transport aircraft during a parachute training exercise in central China's Henan Province on May 8, 2018. ( by Liu Bingbing)

China's domestically-built Y-20 large-scale transport aircraft recently conducted airborne and airdrop training with airborne troops of the PLA Air Force for the first time. This is another jump in the capability of the PLA Air Force's strategic delivery and long-range airborne combat capabilities.

The military expert Xu Yongling said that the Y-20 already possesses actual combat capability, which improves the overall combat level of the entire Chinese military and will help the PLA to train more talents for future new combat model.

Xu said that training of aircraft crews has been ongoing since the Y-20 was commissioned in 2016. The PLA Air Force is now conducting airdrop training, which indicates that the Y-20 is capable of transporting and delivering combat troops.

Speaking of the significance of the Y-20 to the Chinese Air Force, Xu said that large transport aircraft are a type of strategic equipment used by the Air Force throughout the military. The combat capability of the Y-20 will not only improve the combat effectiveness of the PLA Air Force, but also cause a great improvement in the combat effectiveness of the entire armed forces.

Xu pointed out that freedom of movement is the basic condition for military operations. In order to deliver appropriate troops, equipment and logistic support equipment to relevant regions in a very short period of time, the aircraft is the best tool.

Large transport aircraft are necessary for the military. The Y-20 helped the Chinese Air Force cross the threshold of becoming one of the strategic services, and therefore has great significance on improving the long-range combat capability of the entire military, Xu said.

Some media reported that theY-20 is only a transitional version as it only solved the problem of increasing China’s production capacity for large aircraft platforms. The report said that the Y-20 did not use some of the advanced technology and the fuselage section is also traditional. The cargo tank is not wide enough from the long-term perspective.

Xu said that the next generation of China's military transport aircraft may not be much larger than the Y-20 in terms of tonnage, but load capacity may increase to 80 to 90 tons. It is critical to improve the economic and information-based combat capabilities of the aircraft.

"Military transport aircraft still have room for development. The Y-20 will play a transitional role and will help train more talents for the establishment of the PLA's future combat model," said Xu.

Paratroopers assigned to the airborne troops under the PLA Air Force prepare to board Y-20 transport aircraft prior to a parachute training exercise in central China's Henan Province on May 8, 2018. ( by Liu Bingbing)

Disclaimer: The authors are Qiu Yue and Mi Jin, reporters with The article is translated from Chinese into English by the China Military online. The information, ideas or opinions appearing in this article are those of the authors and do not reflect the views of does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.


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