- 9 October 2009
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Chinese airlifter revealed by Avic this week will go into service in the 2020s if the factory behind the project, Shaanxi Aircraft, is given a go-ahead.
The program is at the stage of concept design, say Chinese industry officials. It should be launched into full-scale development in about two years, they add. If it is, and if development is smooth, a first flight could take place in 2020.
The air force does want such an aircraft, the officials say, expecting the type to become China’s main airlifter. The Global Times identifies the aircraft as the previously reported Y-30.
The Y-30 would have almost the same gross weight as the Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules, about 80 metric tons (176,000 lb.), but payload is intended to be 30 tons, compared with 19.6 tons of the U.S. aircraft. The type has apparently grown during the studies, since Avic has previously mentioned plans for a transport aircraft of about 60 tons gross weight.
As displayed in model form at Airshow China at Zhuhai this week, the aircraft has four turboprop engines, but many conceptual designs are under consideration, some with turbofan propulsion. An option for the turboprop is the WJ-16 engine, which is a new engine at an unknown stage of development and is supposed to generate 3,782 kW (5,072 hp.).
If jet propulsion is chosen there would be two engines, so the aircraft would be quite comparable in configuration to the Embraer KC-390. The officials did not name the possible jet engine, but the likely candidate is the WS-20 engine under development for the much larger Y-20 heavy transport, the design gross weight of which is more than 200 tons.
The WS-20 in its current form is not at all a advanced engine, say other industry officials.
The maximum speed of the Y-30 will be 600-700 kph (370-440 mph.) and the range with payload will be 6,000-7,000 km.
Materials cannot be chosen at this early stage, but but some composites will be used.