The following is based on a translation of a report in Chinese media:
It is the fourth Y-20 prototype known so far.
China’s first prototype of the Y-20 large transport aircraft successfully carried out its maiden flight on January 16, 2013; the second, in December 2013 and the third on the eve of August 1, 2014 – Army Day.
There have been photos posted on the Internet of the Y-20 conducting test flights in winter in a very cold northern airfield and a hot and wet summer in Lijiang Airport.
More recently, there have been photos of the Y-20 test flight at Ading Airfield, Daocheng 4,411 meters above sea level, the highest airstrip in China.
It is expected that having gone through all of the most stringent tests, the Y-20 will soon be commissioned.
Its chief engineer, Tang Changhong, said in March that the Y-20 will be commissioned within a short period of time.
The official codename of the aircraft is the Kunpeng, after the mythical bird of ancient China that can fly for thousands of kilometres.
However, within the Chinese aviation industry itself, the aircraft is more commonly known by its nickname Chubby Girl, because its fuselage is wide in comparison to other Chinese aircraft previously developed in China.
The Chinese air force says it will produce at least 300-400 of the Y-20 aircraft within the short time frame of 10 years, to conduct military operations in different anticipated battlefronts in the Asia-Pacific region.
They also expect to catch up with, and surpass, the technical capabilities of the U.S and Russia with regards to large military transport aircraft.
Source: mil.news.sina.com.cn “Successful test flight of the 4th Y-20 prototype means Y-20 may be delivered to PLA air force in near future” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)
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Categories: Defence & Aerospace