Although combat aircraft such as the J-31 stealth fighter and J-15 aircraft carrier strike aircraft have made most of the headlines, China has made significant accomplishments in the realm of military transport, long range maritime patrol and carrier borne AEW&C aircraft over the past year. First operational in 2016, the Y-20 military transport is now the largest such aircraft in production in the world. Roughly the size of the Boeing C-17 Globemaster, the Y-20 is a crucial component in China’s growing ability to expand its strategic power projection capabilities. After initially expressing a need for 400 of these aircraft, the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) later stated that this number was revised to 1000.
A further development in the realm of transport aircraft, was signaled with the announcement in September, 2016 that Aerospace Industry Corporation of China (AICC) will be entering into an agreement with Ukraine’s Antonov, to recommence production of the AN-225 in China. The AN-225 Mriya is the largest transport plane in the world. There is only one aircraft in operation, with one other plane left partially constructed before the Soviet Union was dissolved. AICC and Antonov have entered into a contract to complete the second aircraft, and then to begin production of additional aircraft under license in China. READ MORE…