Days before the international court at The Hague pronounces its verdict on the China-Philippines island dispute, China inducted its first indigenously manufacture heavy military transport aircraft into service.
The huge strategic aircraft joined the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Chengdu.
Chinese Army and Air Forces officials at the induction ceremony of the Xian Y-20. FlightGlobal
The Xian Y-20 looks like Boeing C-17 Globemaster operated primarily by the air forces of US, UK and India.
The 47-metre-long Y-20 has a maximum takeoff weight of about 200 tonnes. In matters of speed and range, the Y-20 is almost at par with the Globemaster.
An Indian Air Force Globemaster III. Wikimedia Commons
Both can travel at Mach 0.75 speeds upto a maximum distance of around 4,500 kilometers with full payload. The Globemaster can, however, travel upto 10,000 kilometers with paratroopers. On the other hand the Y-20 can travel almost 8,000 kilometers when carrying 40 tons of freight.
China has built a total of eight Xian Y-20s in the last 10 years.
The Xian Y-20 has almost similar features as that of a Boeing C-17. GreenStone
China has been rapidly modernising its air force. The Defense Ministry called the induction of the Y-20 “a crucial step” in air power projection. As the South China Sea diplomatic wrangle heats up, the induction of the Xian Y-20 gives the Chinese PLA an edge over every country in Southeast Asia. And in June, the Chinese had announced that they’ll soon induct the indigenous fifth generation stealth fighter, Chengdu J-20
, into service.