China’s newest military freighter aircraft Y-20 joined the People's Liberation Army Air Force today, the state media reported Wednesday.
"The Y-20 entering service marks a crucial step for the air force in improving its strategic power projection capability,"air force spokesman Shen Jinke said in the statement.
The launch of Y-20 closer to the Farnborough event sends out a clear message that the airplane is up for sale in the global market.
Often regarded as China’s version of Boeing C-17, Y-20 has a maximum takeoff weight of 200 tonnes and is ideal for carrying cargo and people over long distances in difficult weather conditions. It has a range of 4,850 miles while carrying 40 tons of cargo, and 2,800 miles when fully laden.
Boeing's C-17 Globemaster III is bigger than the Y-20—the C-17's empty weight is about 60,000 pounds more than the Y-20 and its payload capacity is 25,000 pounds more—but production stopped in 2015, making the Y-20 the biggest that is currently rolling out of factories.
Currently the Y-20 uses four Russian-made Soloviev D-30 turbofan engines, though the PLAAF plans to replace the engines with the Chinese-made Shenyang WS-20 turbofans by 2020.