China's transport, tanker & heavy lift aircraft

Discussion in 'Air Force' started by Totoro, Sep 10, 2005.

  1. by78
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    by78 Colonel

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    A few more grainy screen captures of Y-20's cockpit + one more nice photo.

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    #3701 by78, Feb 4, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2019
  2. SinoSoldier
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    SinoSoldier Colonel

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    I'm surprised that none of the PLAAF transports so far have been shown to be air-refueling-capable. This either shows a glaring lack of foresight or an indication that PLAAF tankers won't become mainstream until far in the future, the latter being the most likely possibility.
     
  3. Nutrient
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    Nutrient Junior Member
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    The lack of aerial refueling could also indicate that the PLAAF is only defensive (short range), and is not a global menace.
     
  4. Bltizo
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    Bltizo Moderator
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    Wrong thread?

    Anyway I think it would've made a lot of sense to develop Y-20s to all have probe/drogue accommodation on the wings so they could operate as tankers if the situation demanded it (albeit less capable than a dedicated Y-20 tanker variant of course).

    But I think the PLA may judge the need for air refuelling to be lower than that or more likely their deficit in strategic transport aircraft (and transport aircraft overall) was such that operating them as multirole transporters/tankers was considered too ambitious
     
  5. Figaro
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    Figaro Junior Member
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    The relative lack of aerial refueling only means that the PLAAF currently has more immediate and higher priority objectives to fulfill. I am sure that the PLAAF is aspiring more than just to be defensive.
     
  6. Nutrient
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    Nutrient Junior Member
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    What makes you so sure that "the PLAAF is aspiring more than just to be defensive"?

    Going beyond pure defense will be expensive.
     
  7. SinoSoldier
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    SinoSoldier Colonel

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    Yeah, I thought this was the Y-20 thread. :-/ @Deino

    What I meant was that their Y-8/9/20 are not capable of being refueled in mid-air if they wanted extended range. In fact, I don't think any large aircraft besides the modified KJ-500 prototype is capable of being refueled mid-air within the PLAAF.
     
  8. Bltizo
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    Bltizo Moderator
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    Oh, right that's what you meant.

    I think the overall lack of air refuelling tankers probably made installation of air refuelling probes in those aircraft seem premature.

    I can imagine probes being backfitted on once a core fleet of tankers are in service
     
  9. latenlazy
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    latenlazy Colonel

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    I actually don’t expect China’s transport aircraft to be equipped with the ability to refuel in midair even once there is a sizable air tanker fleet. Most transports already have pretty long ranges, enough to fulfill regional missions without aerial refueling. The only reason they’d need aerial refueling is if you wanted to extend their regional range into a global range, and in order to do that effectively you’d need to have airbases abroad that could be waypoints for tankers to take off for refueling those transports mid journey. Your tanker isn’t going to be able to fly and loiter out to those global midpoints from a domestic base and still have fuel to both refuel the transport aircraft and also make it back to base. This capability doesn’t make much sense without extensive forward basing.

    Also can a mod move these replies to the correct thread? Much thanks.
     
  10. SinoSoldier
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    SinoSoldier Colonel

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    The problem is, you can't merely retrofit refuelling systems on a plane like you would with an AESA radar due to the complex piping issues, unless the aircraft design was future-proofed to begin with. Or maybe they'll have a more finalized variant with such things like what was seen with the KJ-500 prototype.
     
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