China: two new versions of the Xian Y-20 aircraft
One for refuelling in flight and one for early warning and control
China is working to modify the Xian Y-20 strategic transport aircraft, and the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) engineers are looking to develop an in-flight refueling version and an early warning and control version (AWACD), exploiting - for this - also the recent agreement signed with the United Kingdom for the supply of airborne radars. One of these variants of the strategic transport aircraft used by the Chinese air force is expected to debut during 2019, thus demonstrating both China's capabilities and the extreme versatility of the four-engine aircraft that entered service in December 2015. The Y-20 -nelle Beijing's intentions -it should become a unique platform from which to derive a series of specific versions, along the lines of what has always been done in the United States with many of the planes derived from civil aviation.
In addition to refueling and early warning and control versions, AVIC would also like to transform the Y-20 to be able to carry out electronic warfare and medical evacuation operations, equipping it with the necessary equipment to make it a flying hospital. But the next important step for Chinese industry will be the one expected for next year, when the Russian D-30 engines will be replaced by an engine developed entirely in China.
AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency