China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) has conducted its first airdrop and air delivery training exercise using the Xian Aircraft Corporation Y-20 Kunpeng strategic transport aircraft, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) in Beijing announced on 8 May.
The MND, which showed images of PLA airborne troops parachuting from the aircraft as well as of the air dropping of cargo, said in a statement that the PLAAF has begun “combat training” with the Y-20 that includes airdrops and long-range deliveries of military equipment.
At least five Y-20s are known to be operated by the PLAAF, with images recently published in Chinese online forums suggesting that two more platforms may have also entered service.
The 47 m-long Y-20, which entered service with the PLAAF in July 2016, has an estimated maximum take-off weight of 220 tonnes and a range of up to 2,000 n miles (maximum payload), according to Jane's All the World's Aircraft .
The indigenously designed and developed transport aircraft made its maiden flight in January 2013 and debuted at the 10th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition (also known as Airshow China) in Zhuhai in November 2014.
The latest developments come as the MND announced on 9 May that the PLAAF's Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group (CAIG) J-20 ‘fifth-generation’ multirole fighter aircraft recently took part in its first-ever combat training over the ocean.
The J-20 made its maiden flight in 2011 and was first publicly displayed at the Airshow China 2016 exhibition in Zhuhai. In March 2017 state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) stated the aircraft had entered military service, although it is thought that only small numbers of the platform have been produced.
Want to read more? For analysis on this article and access to all our insight content, please enquire about our subscription options at ihs.com/contact