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AVIC to put domestic cargo jet in the skies

By Zhao Lei | China Daily | Updated: 2016-11-08 07:38

AVIC to put domestic cargo jet in the skies

A model of the Y-20F-100 is displayed at the 11th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai, Guangdong province, earlier this month. [Photo provided to China Daily]

China's leading aircraft maker is developing a large cargo jet based on the Y-20 military transport plane in an attempt to put an end to foreign dominance in the field.

Designers at the Aviation Industry Corp of China are doing preliminary research on the Y-20F-100, a civilian variant of the Y-20 heavy-lift transport jet developed for the People's Liberation Army, and they will redesign the airframe and cargo loading system, the State-owned defense technology giant said in a statement.

"This project represents our commitment to transferring military technologies to boost civilian sectors and will fill the absence of a domestically developed large cargo plane," the statement said.

By the end of last year, there were 122 freight planes in use by cargo airlines on the Chinese mainland and most of their large freight jets were made by Boeing and Airbus, according to AVIC statistics.

Meanwhile, heavy-duty cargo jets used by the People's Liberation Army were mainly imported from Russia, industry observers said, adding that only a handful of aviation firms in the world are able to design and produce large cargo jets.

The Y-20F-100 will be longer than the Y-20 and can carry 28 airfreight containers, or 65 metric tons of cargo, as well as supersized engineering equipment. It has a maximum range of 8,000 km, AVIC said.

A small-scale model of the Y-20F-100 was displayed at the 11th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition, which ran from Tuesday to Sunday in Zhuhai, Guangdong province.

The biennial event, commonly known as the Zhuhai Air Show, is believed to be the largest arms exhibition in Asia.

Development of the Y-20 started in 2007. It took its maiden flight in January 2013, and performed flight shows at the 10th Zhuhai Air Show in November 2014 and again last week.

The first batch of Y-20s was delivered to the PLA Air Force in July.

Zhu Qian, head of AVIC's large aircraft development office, previously told China Daily that more than 1,000 Y-20s and its civilian variants will be needed, explaining that this figure was calculated based on the experience of the United States and Russia, as they have used heavy-lift transport aircraft for many years.

Fu Qianshao, an aircraft expert with the PLA Air Force, said the Y-20 will be developed into a large family that will consist of early-warning planes, aerial refueling tankers and several civilian models.

In addition, China will develop transport jets that are even larger than the Y-20, like the US' Lockheed C-5 Galaxy and former Soviet Union's Antonov An-225 Mriya, according to Zhu.

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