China's first large transporter may fly in 2012 - People's Daily Online May 16, 2011 China is seeking to carry out the maiden flight of its first large transporter aircraft in 2012, according to a press release on the website of a major aircraft company, which has sparked speculation from aviation enthusiasts and defense observers. Gao Jianshe, vice general manger of Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), said in a speech that all cadres and employees of the AVIC Xi'an Aircraft Industry (Group) Company (XAC) should complete their scientific research and production and ensure that the large jet will make its maiden flight before the 18th CPC National Congress scheduled next year, said the release issued on May 12. The XAC's press release had been removed from its official website Sunday evening. Ding Zhiyong, spokesperson for AVIC, declined to comment on the press release and said he had not read it. According to XAC's website, the company specializes in manufacturing bombers, fighter-bombers and regional passenger aircraft. An earlier report by Xi'an-based Chinese Business View said that the XAC had been studying large transporter aircraft since 1993 and was selected as the major contractor for the aircraft in 2007, mainly in charge of the integration and assembly of the aircraft. The large transporters will be capable of holding oversized payloads and taking off from temporary runways, greatly enhancing the air force's power project capability, Daniel Tong, founder of the reputable website Chinese Military Aviation, told the Global Times, adding that it would also prove to be an invaluable asset for civil applications, such as disaster relief. Bai Wei, former vice chief editor of the Aviation World Monthly, agreed. "China currently operates over a dozen of Il-76 transporters bought from Russia. The US operates over 120 C-17 transporters," Bai said. A homemade large aircraft can also provide platform for some special aircraft, such as tanker aircraft and Airborne Warning and Control Systems, Bai added. According to Tong, the prototypes and the initial batch of the transporter may be powered by a Russian D-30 engine or its Chinese counterpart used on the Russian IL-76 transporter and the Chinese H-6K bomber. Chinese standards mark large aircraft as commercial aircraft and transporters with over 100 tons as a maximum take-off weight, according to the Xinhua News Agency. China's large transporter will have a maximum take-off weight of over 200 tons, Tong estimated. The large passenger aircraft C919, developed by the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, is scheduled to make its median flight in 2014. Source: Global Times Y-20 Currently 603 Institute, XAC and SAC are developing an advanced 4-engine large transport (Y-20?) which is smaller than American C-17 and based upon some IL-76MD technology. As the result assistance was sought from Antonov Design Bureau in 2008. Its max payload was expected to be around 50t and max TO weight >200t. Fitted with high-lift devices along the wing leading and trailing edges, the aircraft is capable of taking off from relatively short and unpaved runways, making many temporary airfields behind the battlefield accessible. Currently it is unclear whether the aircraft will have an IFR probe installed or not. The prototypes and the initial batch may be powered by Russian D-30KP-2/WS-18 turbofans, later by the modified WS-10 (WS-118?). A full-scale metal mock-up (head section) of Y-20 was constructed by 2008 and the first flight is projected in 2012. On August 20, 2009 SAC started to build the rear fuselage of the first prototype. It was reported (April 2010) that the full-scale mock-up was completed in early 2010. It was also rumored that the aircraft might serve as the testbed for the Chinese airborne laser weapon prototype similar to American YAL-1 which is thought to be under development. In addition the next generation of medium transport aircraft was believed to be under development at XAC/603 Institute as well, powered by two modified WS-10 turbofans. Its max payload is around 25t.