China lacks of large cargo aircraft, and now they are building it. For the first time, the Chinese Air Force launched their new heavy-lift transport aircraft Y-20. The new plane will enable China to project military power across vast distances. But its design appeared to incorporate features from the world’s most advanced military cargo plane, the US-made Boeing C-17 Globemaster. C-17 is certainly a “much better plane”, one of the reasons being that it apparently uses a much higher proportion of lightweight composite materials, which China is difficult to produce …
Y-20 is China’s biggest home-produced military transport jet to date, it is 154 feet long and 50 feet tall, with a wingspan of 147 feet. The new aircraft has a maximum payload of 66 tonnes, which it can carry as far as 4,400 kilometres. It is big enough to hold the heaviest tank used by China’s army. Comparing with US-made Boeing C-17, Y-20’s maximum load and flying range are likely to be lower than expected, due to the plane’s reliance on a “very old” Russian-designed engine, which has very bad oil consumption and wastes a lot of fuel. In the mean time, the US Air Force says on its website that it has more than two hundred C-17s in its inventory, while the China Y-20 was likely to take at least another five years to enter operational service.
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