Official News Chinese Y-20 Transport Aircraft Will Fly Next Year

Currently 603 Institute, XAC and SAC are developing an advanced 4-engine large transport (Y-20?) which is smaller than American C-17 and based upon some IL-76MD technology. As the result assistance was sought from Antonov Design Bureau in 2008. Its max payload was expected to be around 50t and max TO weight >200t. Fitted with high-lift devices along the wing leading and trailing edges, the aircraft is capable of taking off from relatively short and unpaved runways, making many temporary airfields behind the battlefield accessible. Currently it is unclear whether the aircraft will have an IFR probe installed or not. The prototypes and the initial batch may be powered by Russian D-30KP-2/WS-18 turbofans, later by the modified WS-10 (WS-118?). A full-scale metal mock-up (head section) of Y-20 was constructed by 2008 and the first flight is projected in 2012. On August 20, 2009 SAC started to build the rear fuselage of the first prototype. It was reported (April 2010) that the full-scale mock-up was completed in early 2010. It was also rumored that the aircraft might serve as the testbed for the Chinese airborne laser weapon prototype similar to American YAL-1 which is thought to be under development. In addition the next generation of medium transport aircraft was believed to be under development at XAC/603 Institute as well, powered by two modified WS-10 turbofans. Its max payload is around 25t. 


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