Wednesday, September 21, 2022

China increased Y-20 transport aircraft production rate

Chinese aviation enterprise increases the production volumes of new Y-20 Kunpeng heavy military transport aircraft, China’s version of the C-17 Globemaster.

Imagery captured by commercial satellite on 12 June shows that production of the new Y-20 Kunpeng transport aircraft is continuing at Xian Aircraft Corporation facility on a high level.  In total, were spotted nine Y-20 aircraft, of which seven were newly built. Also 6 new aircraft already painted and several still without their engines.

The Y-20 is a newest Chinese military transport aircraft that has an empty weight of 110 tons. US transport aircraft 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.


The Y-20 made its maiden flight in January 2013, and debuted at the 10th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in November 2014.

Imagery captured by commercial satellite on 12 June

The 47 m-long Y-20, which entered service with China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) in July 2016.  At least two aircraft stationed at Qionglai Air Base since July 2016. Commercial satellite imagery captured on 9 December 2017 suggests that at least three more Xian Aircraft Corporation Y-20 Kunpeng transport aircraft have entered service with PLAAF. In these images, there are a total of 5 Xi’an Y-20’s lined up at Qionglai Airbase near Chengdu in China’s southwestern Sichuan Province.

Reports on the Chinese internet suggest that China is planning to convert some of these aircraft the aerial refuelling aircraft and the version of the Airborne early warning and control.

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About this Author

Dylan Malyasov
Defense journalist and commentator. Aviation photographer. Dylan leads Defence Blog's coverage of global military news, focusing on engineering and technology across the U.S. defense industry.