China will put its home-grown military cargo jet, Y-20 into service later this year.
“The test flight period for the aircraft is generally between three and five years. Since there have been no bottlenecks during development or production, the Y-20 will be put into use this year,” Xu Yongling, a military expert was quoted as saying by Chinamil website Tuesday.
China becomes the fourth country to develop a 200-ton military cargo jet following US, Russia and Ukraine.
"This is not only progress for China's national defense industry, but also a milestone of industrial and military modernization," Xu said.
Military expert Chen Hong said in an interview with People's Daily Online that the carrying capacity of the Y-20, around 60 tons, is higher than that of Russia’s Ilyushin Il-76, a multi-purpose four-engine turbofan strategic airlifter. The Y-20's engine, aerodynamic arrangement and combat performance are all better than those of the Russian aircraft.
The cargo jet can be used to refit significant special operations platforms, as it has a long flying period and flying distance. The Y-20 is also a good choice for maritime detection and early warning, according to Chen.
The Y-20 is a 200 ton, 7,800km ranged four engined heavy transport with a 66ton payload. "788", reportedly the fifth Y-20 prototype, flew in late 2015. Since then, reports suggest that the Y-20's development has been completed and production will begin this year, Popular Science website reported early last month.