By Chen Yu
BEIJING, June 30 — Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic, China’s domestically developed Yun-20 large transport aircraft has carried out missions abroad for many times, successively delivering anti-epidemic supplies to Pakistan, Thailand and other countries. Recently, it made its maiden flight to Russia to transport the PLA Guard of Honor to participate in the military parade staged in Moscow’s Red Square. Military expert Chen Hong said that in the future, the Yun-20 transport aircraft is sure to significantly improve the combat capability of the PLA troops.
A solid backing to the PLA Air Force
In the modern warfare with wider war zones and faster war pace, countries all over the world are trying to strengthen the quick response and long-range delivery capabilities of their troops, to quickly transport their troops and weapons to areas in urgent need and save time for the reinforcement of follow-up troops. Under this situation, the armed forces of all countries are eager to equip large-scale heavy-duty transport aircraft.
According to the information from Tang Changhong, chief designer of the Yun-20, the maximum take-off weight of the aircraft is 220 tons, and the maximum loading capacity is 66 tons.
“To build up a modern PLA Air Force with strong combat capability, it is quite necessary to equip large transport aircraft like Yun-20, the speed of which is more than three times that of high-speed rail trains and more than 20 times that of marine transportation. It can get the whole combat units rallied in the shortest time, greatly contributing to the rapid deployment of troops and enhancing combat capability”, said Chen Hong.
It still holds great development potential
“The Yun-20 transport aircraft is quite promising for future development.” According to Chen Hong’s introduction, the Yun-20 transport aircraft is currently powered by Russian D-30KP-2 engines, which is likely to be replaced by WS-20, the domestically developed new-generation large-scale jet engine, in the future. It can provide more than 15 tons of thrust.
“In recent years, China’s fighter engine R&D technology has achieved leapfrog development, breaking through the unimaginable bottlenecks. New engines like WS-20 will also be used to equip China’s large military transport aircraft in the near future and play a more prominent role”, added Chen Hong.
In addition, the Yun-20 can also be adapted as an aerial tanker or an antisubmarine aircraft. With a payload of up to 66 tons, it can become an aerial gas station, which can cooperate with fighters skillfully in aerial refueling operations. As an antisubmarine aircraft, it can carry a variety of light and heavy antisubmarine equipment. With its advantages of heavy weight, long endurance and long range, its performance will be more powerful.
At present, China’s Air Force is in urgent need of Yun-20 transport aircraft. Chen Hong said that in view of China’s current goal of building up a strategic air force, several hundred Yun-20s are needed at least. “It marks a magnificent progress in the history of China’s Air Force. I believe there will be even more advanced aircraft to equip China’s Air Force in the future”, added Chen.