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Xian Y-20
 
Xian-Y20
 
Two major Chinese aviation companies, Shaanxi Aircraft Corporation and Xi’an Aircraft Corporation, expressed interest to develop the Y-20 aircraft, but Xi’an was announced as the manufacturer of Y-20 in 2007.
 
Developed by Xi'an Aircraft Industrial Corporation and was officially launched in 2006 the Xi'an Y-20 (Chinese: -20; pinyin: Yùn-20; literally: "transport-20") is a large military transport aircraft. The official codename of the aircraft is Kunpeng (Chinese: 鲲鹏), after the mythical bird that can fly for thousands of miles described in the ancient Chinese Taoist classic Zhuangzi. However, within the Chinese aviation industry itself, the aircraft is more commonly known by its nickname Chubby Girl (Chinese: ), because its wide fuselage in comparison to other Chinese aircraft previously developed in China.
 
The aircraft was primarily designed and developed in China by Xi'an Aircraft Industrial Corporation under Tang Changhong. Certain parts of the wing such as the triple-slotted trailing-edge flaps were developed by the Ukrainian Antonov Design Bureau.
The Y-20 uses components made of composite materials. The composites are produced in China, whereas in the past they had to be imported. The Y-20's cabin incorporates flame-retardant composites developed by the 703 Institute of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC). The 703 Institute was created in March 2009 with development taking three years. The performance of the composites is reportedly comparable to those that fulfill FAR Part 25.835. The 703 Institute achieved another milestone by establishing a comprehensive Chinese evaluation and certification system for aircraft composite materials based on international standards.
 
The Y-20 is the first cargo aircraft to use 3D printing technology to speed up its development and to lower its manufacturing cost. Model-based definition (MBD) is also used, and it's the third aircraft to utilize MBD technology in the world, after Airbus A380 (2000) and Boeing 787 (2005). A project team to implement MBD for Y-20 program was formally formed in October 2009, and after the initial success in application on the main landing gear, MBD application was expanded to the entire aircraft and became mandatory for all contractors and sub contractors of the Y-20 program. The implementation of MBD was initially met with strong resistance, with only a third of suppliers agreeing to implement MBD. However, the general designer of Y-20 declared that those who refused to implement MBD will be banned from participating in the Y-20 program, thus forcing everyone to comply, resulting in increases in productivity. The implementation of MBD greatly shortened the time required, for example, without MBD, installation of wings takes a month or two, but with MBD adopted, the time is drastically shortened to just a few hours, and in general, the design work reduced by 40%, preparation for production reduced by 75%, and manufacturing cycle reduced by 30%.
In addition to 3D printing, Y-20 is also the first aircraft in China adopting associative design technology (ADT) in its development. Headed by the deputy general designer of structural design, Mr. Feng Jun (冯军), the initial attempt to implement ADT actually failed after two months spent on application on the nose section. It was only after the second attempt that took another three months on the application on wings did ADT became successful. The adaptation of ADT greatly shortened the development time by at least eight months, and modification of wing design that previously took a week is shortened to half a day.
 
 Xian-Y20-01
 
The Y-20 airlifter has a glass cockpit, which accommodates three crew members. Cargo is loaded through a large aft ramp that accommodates rolling stock. The Y-20 incorporates a shoulder wing, T-tail, rear cargo-loading assembly and heavy-duty retractable landing gear, consists of three rows, with a pair of wheels for each row, totalling six wheels for each side. The structural test was completed in 194 days as opposed to the 300 days originally planned, thanks to the successful development and application of an automated structural strength analysis system. According to the deputy general designer, the shortest take-off distance of Y-20 is 600 to 700 meters. Y-20 incorporates a total of four LCD EFIS, and the development of EFIS for Y-20 utilizes virtual reality via helmet mounted display. Eight types of different relays used on Y-20 are developed by Guilin Aerospace Co., Ltd. a wholly own subsidiary of China Tri-River Aerospace Group Co., Ltd.(中国三江航天集), which is also known as the 9th Academy of China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC).
 
It was reported that the Y-20 started ground testing from December 2012, including runway taxi tests. The aircraft made its maiden flight lasting one hour on January 26, 2013 at Shaanxi Yanliang Aviation Base. During landing in first flight, it was reported that the Y-20 prototype bounced once before finally settling on runway due to high landing speed. In December 2013, a new Y-20 prototype took to the sky.
 
The Y-20 is powered by four 12-ton thrust Soloviev D-30KP-2 engines, and all early production units are likely to be similarly powered. The Chinese intend to replace the D-30 with the 14-ton thrust WS-20, which is required for the Y-20 to achieve its maximum cargo capacity of 66 tons. The Shenyang WS-20 is derived from the core of the Shenyang WS-10A, an indigenous Chinese turbofan engine for fighter aircraft.
 
In 2013, Shenyang Engine Design and Research Institute was reportedly developing the SF-A, a 28700-pound thrust engine, for the Y-20 and the Comac C919. The SF-A is derived from the core of the WS-15. Compared to the WS-20, the SF-A is a conservative design that does not seek to match the technology of more modern engines.
 
In late 2017, it is revealed that domestic Chinese turbofan WS-18 has begun flight test on Y-20. Compared with Russian Soloviev D-30, WS-18 is 300 kg lighter, weighing at 2000 kg; with thrust increased from 12.5 ton of D-30 to 13.2 ton; and fuel consumption of WS-18 is also reduced in comparison to D-30, and the mean time between overhaul of WS-18 is 3000 hours. However, because the increase in thrust is not significant in comparison to D-30, WS-18 is like to be a stopgap measure before WS-20 is ready. The production aircraft are equipped with WS-20 engines.
 
The aircraft is equipped with a retractable landing gear comprising two main landing gear units and a nose unit. Each of the two main units on either side of under-fuselage features six wheels, which are arranged in a two-two-two layout from front-to back.
The steerable nose gear includes a standard twin-wheel leg unit. The landing gear allows take-offs and landings on rough airfields or unpaved runways.
 
In 2014 the PLA National Defence University's Center for Economic Research recommended the purchase of up to 400 Y-20s, comparing the PLAAF's needs with the existing airlifter fleets of the United States and Russia. In June 2016 Jane's reported that up to 1,000 Y-20s are being requested by the Chinese military.
 
On 6 February 2016 the Y-20 was flown for the first time and pictures of the fifth prototype (serial number 788) in flight appeared on Chinese military webpages. Other known prototypes carry identification numbers 781, 783 and 785. On 27 January 2016, former Chinese test pilot Xu Yongling had reported in a Xinhua article that Chinese aviation industry officials had stated that the Y-20 "completed development" at the end of 2015. In June 2016, the first two Xian Y-20 aircraft were delivered to the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF).
 
 Xian-Y20-02
 
On 6 July 2016 the first serial Y-20 (serial number 11051) was handed over to the PLAAF in a ceremony. The second aircraft serialed 11052 followed soon after - it is assigned to the 12th Regiment of the 4th Transport Division at Qionglai, Chengdu.
On 8 May 2018, it was announced by PLAAF's spokeperson Shen Jinke that Y-20 had "recently conducted its first joint airdrop training with the country's airborne troops".
 
At least two aircraft stationed at Qionglai Air Base since July 2016. Commercial satellite imagery captured on 9 December 2017 suggests that at least three more Xian Aircraft Corporation Y-20 Kunpeng transport aircraft have entered service with China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF). In these images there are a total of 5 Xi'an Y-20's lined up at Qionglai Airbase near Chengdu in China’s southwestern Sichuan Province.
 
 Xian-Y20-03
 
Specifications (estimated)
Engines: 4 × Soloviev D-30KP-2 turbofans
Wingspan: 45 m (147 ft ~ 164 ft)
Wing area: 330 m² (3550 ft²)
Length: 47 m (154.2 ft)
Height: 15 m (49.2 ft)
Empty weight: 100,000 kg (220,400 lb)
Max takeoff weight: 220,000 kg (485,000 lb)
Payload: 66 tonnes (145,505 lb)
Max wing loading: 710 kg/m² (145 lb/ft²)
Cruise speed: Mach 0.75
Range max payload: 4,500 km
Range 40 ton payload: 7,800 km
Service ceiling: 13,000 m (42,700 ft)
Crew: 3: pilot, copilot & load master

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 


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