China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) will need at least 400 Y-20 cargo planes by Xi’an Aircraft Corp to catch up with capabilities of the U.S, Russia and India, People’s Daily cited a report published by the National Defense University of China.
As per the report, China needs these planes to conduct military operations in different battlefronts along the Asia-Pacific region.
Bohai Sea Green Pearl, a 36,000-tonne ferry vessel launched in Aug 2012, can also be modified into China's largest amphibious augmentation platform when the PLA Navy needs.
Various weaknesses regarding China's force projection capabilities were laid out in the report as well. First, China does not have enough large ferry vessels like the Bohai Sea Green Pearl to launch a large-scale amphibious invasion. Second, China does not have enough large military cargo planes such as the Y-20.
Currently, the United States Air Force has 700 large transports used for strategic airlift. The Russian Air Force has 800 medium transports while the Indian Air Force has 200. Meanwhile, some air force bases in China are still unable to accommodate large cargo planes like the Il-76.