The first serial Y-20 military transport aircraft (seriall number 11051) developed by Xi’an Aircraft Industrial Corporation was handed over to the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) in a ceremony. Second aircraft serialled 11052 to follow soon – it is assigned to the 12th Regiment of the 4th Transport Division at Qionglai, Chengdu.
The Y-20 has an empty weight of 110 short tons, making it the largest military aircraft currently in production—larger than Russia’s Ilyushin Il-76. Boeing’s C-17 Globemaster III is bigger than the Y-20—the C-17’s empty weight is about 60,000 pounds more than the Y-20 and its payload capacity is 25,000 pounds more—but production stopped in 2015, making the Y-20 the biggest that is currently rolling out of factories.
The Y-20 relies on four Russian-made Soloviev D-30 turbofan engines. With a payload of 73 short tons, the aircraft can carry heavy military hardware, including the ZTZ99, China’s largest tank.