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China developing variants of Y-20 large transport aircraft

China is developing several types of variants of Y-20 large transport aircraft, including an aerial tanker and early warning aircraft.

China developing variants of Y 20 large transport aircraft Y-20 (Picture source: Air Recognition)

The current Y-20 has a payload capacity of around 60-66 t. It can carry most large combat and support vehicles, including the Type 99 series main battle tanks. Alternatively to cargo and vehicles the Y-20 can accommodate around 300 troops, 200 litters or around 110 paratroopers.

"The Y-20 can serve as a general platform from which a variety of variants can be derived," Tang Changhong, a Chinese political advisor and chief designer of the Y-20, said at a Thursday press conference featuring Chinese legislators and political advisors in the aviation field, China Aviation News reported Friday. The other possible variants may include a mobile hospital and an electronic warfare aircraft, he said. The Y-20 might also replace its current Russian engines with domestically made WS-20 engines in 2019.

Military experts are expecting to see the original's doppelganger in 2019.