China has unveiled its first domestically developed strategic air lifter, the Y-20 Kunpengwhich.
The aircraft will soon be delivered to users, a senior aviation executive said, adding that the development of its engine is "faring well".
"We still need to conduct some ground and flight tests, so I am not able to tell you theexact time of delivery," Geng Ruguang, deputy general manager of the Aviation IndustryCorp of China, the country's leading aircraft maker, said at the 10th China InternationalAviation and Aerospace Exhibition. "However, I believe we can expect the (delivery) day within a very short time."
The development of a new, powerful turbofan by China to replace imported ones currentlyinstalled on large transport aircraft is progressing smoothly, Geng said.
The Y-20, with a crew of three, had its maiden flight in January 2013, making China the third nation after the United States and Russia to develop a heavy lift transporter. Thisclass of aircraft is used to carry large military payloads, according to the English People Daily.
According to a technical evaluation in Aerospace Knowledge magazine, when carrying atotal payload of 51 tons and fully fueled, the Y-20 has a range of 5,200 kilometers, meaning it can reach any point in Eurasia, Alaska, Australia and northern Africa.
With its maximum payload of 66 metric tons, the plane can fly 3,700 km, enabling it tomake a nonstop flight from Harbin, Heilongjiang province, to Lhasa in the Tibetautonomous region, the report added.
The Y-20 is the first cargo aircraft in the world to use 3-D printing technology to speed up its development and lower manufacturing costs.