China on Saturday conducted a successful test flight of its first domestically made jumbo airfreighter.
The Yun-20, or Transport-20, is a huge, multi-function airfreighter which can perform various long-distance air transportation tasks targeting cargo and passengers.
The successful maiden flight of Yun-20 is significant in promoting China’s economic and national defense buildup as well as bettering its emergency handling such as disaster relief and humanitarian aid.
The transport plane, Y-20, puts China in the exclusive club of countries having large air lifters like the United States’ C-17 and Russia’s Il-76.
And it also gives a boost to the country’s efforts to use homegrown technology to expand defense capacity.
The Y-20 plane is also likely to cause a cringe in Japan and Phillipines, which are involved in island disputes with China.
This is the second major piece of military hardware that China is showcasing since the recent launch of its first aircraft carrier.
The “strategic airlifter” will seriously augment China’s military capabilities, which made several advances since the launch of the direct railway line to Tibet over five years ago.
A western defense website said the Y-20, which can carry 66 tons and soar up to 13,000 meters, is powered by four Russian-built Soloviev D-30KP-2 engines and most of the parts and WS-20 turbofan engines are built in China.
The Y-20 program is an important part of China’s “Medium- and Long-Term National Science and Technology Development Program (2006-20)”.
Y-20 is developed by Xian Aircraft Industry, a subsidiary of Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), the country’s leading military aircraft maker.
The giant aircraft will continue to undergo experiments and test flights as scheduled.