China's large transportation aircraft, Y-20, will finish test flights in 2016 and be delivered in bulk to the PLA before the end of this year, according to CCTV reports.
China's own domestically built military cargo jet, Y-20, will likely be put into service in the army this year, a military expert said in an interview with People's Daily Online.
According to Xu Yongling, a military expert, the test flight period for large aircraft is generally between three and five years. Since there have been no bottlenecks during development or manufacturing, the Y-20 will be put into use this year.
The first flight of the Y-20 took place in 2013, making China the fourth country in the world, following the U.S., Russia and Ukraine, to develop a 200-ton military cargo jet.
"This is not only progress for China's national defense industry, but also a milestone of industrial and military modernization," Xu said.
The official code name of the aircraft is Kunpeng, after the mythical bird of ancient China that can fly for thousands of kilometers. However, within the Chinese aviation industry, the aircraft is more commonly known by its nickname, Chubby Girl, named by military fans for its relatively wide fuselage.
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.
As for future military developments, airborne transportation depends not only on the Y-20, but also on other military cargo jets, which China may develop in the next five to ten years, according to Xu.