A long-body version of the Chinese Y-20 Military Transport Aircraft is being planned to increase the aircraft’s weight carrying capacity.
The aircraft, which looks similar to the now discontinued Boeing C-17 military transport, is meant to carry military and civilian cargo over long distances. It was officially inducted into the Chinese Air Force yesterday.
Tang Changhong, Deputy Chief Engineer of the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) and chief designer of the Y-20, was quoted by the Global Times as saying that since the beginning of their research, the Y-20's designers took into consideration the plausibility of building derivative models for the large transport aircraft.
Tang however did not disclose the longer body version’s weight carrying capacity and other performance indicators. Aircraft designers usually have a base model followed by a longer or shorter version to suit different missions.
The military aircraft has a maximum takeoff weight of 200 tons and is ideal for carrying cargo, people and heavy equipment over long distances in difficult weather conditions, the air force said in a short statement on its official Weibo account. "The Y-20 entering service marks a crucial step for the air force in improving its strategic power projection capability," Chinese air force spokesperson Shen Jinke said Wednesday at the ceremony to announce the plane's deployment in Sichuan Province.
The Y-20 is meant to serve as force projection for the People’s Liberation Army and the official Chinese media has said it would be used for deploying troops and equipment in overseas UN peacekeeping missions. China has offered to join the international war against terrorism and this aircraft will be central to the troop carrying purpose of such missions.
China is also certain to offer this aircraft in the international market for large airlifters given that the departure of the Boeing C-17 has left a void in the global market.