Recently, news that the first batch of China’s Xian Y-20 large military transport aircraft has been deployed to troops appeared on Weibo and in online military forums. However, the news hasn’t been confirmed by the PLA. People’s Daily Online interviewed military expert Xu Yongling on this issue and according to him, no more than 100 Y-20s will be deployed to troops in the future and in the next five to ten years, China may develop its third generation military transport aircrafts.
According to Xu, if the Y-20 has been used to equip the troops, then it only takes three and a half years from the maiden flight to actual use. The A-400M transport aircraft of the Europe took six years for this process. Since the maiden flight, the Y-20 hasn’t experienced any major technological difficulties; in addition that this transport plane doesn’t need so many experiments as the fighters, so it is believable that the Y-20 will be deployed to troops in the near future.
Some media previously reported that the PLA needs over 300 Y-20s to better meet the strategic need of the air force. Xu disagreed, “I think the total number of Y-20s used to equip the troops will not exceed 100.” This prediction is based on the transport needs of the PLA as well as the international strategic environment. Moreover, the cost is also a practical factor being taken into consideration.
“It is unlikely that we will invest so much in the second-generation military transport aircraft. In the next five to ten years, China may develop more advanced third generation military transport aircraft, the loading capacity and delivery distance of which will be greatly improved from the second generation,” Xu said.
(Source: People’s Daily Online; published 17.06.2016)