China's transport, tanker & heavy lift aircraft

by78

Brigadier
..
but it's still way too low resolution.
In the past we had a picture of the Il-76 engine testbed, where its three D-30 engines looked bigger but was just cowlings open for maintenance. In the case of this Y-20, it could be just that its four D-30 cowlings are all open for maintenance, but at the same time they don't look quite the same size as the D-30s on the Il-76 from 2016... so who knows


I think it's all four D-30s under maintenance.

 

Gloire_bb

Junior Member
Registered Member
Most tankers are MRTTs to some degrees. You are never actually going to fill that thing from nose to tail with fuel and get off the ground. So some of the airframe does other functions including cargo and passengers.
Difference lies in priorities.
All civilian-based tankers are cargo/passenger planes at the same time, but they are tied to better runways and airports to service.

On the other hand, military transports are just less suitable for the main mission, yet win in their ability to use lesser fields and infrastructure.

Having special narrow-body version seems to be an interesting compromise, but only if you are going to build justifying number of planes.
Is China really going to do it?
 

goat89

New Member
Registered Member
Those engines look way too fat

Much larger than the ones on the test bed

Maintenance panels

Btw I can’t believe we are identifying engines from satellites

Spy agency’s used to it 30 years ago
Technology my friend ;)

Btw, is there a reason this Y-20 is in black? Special paint properties or just for show? It fits very well with the gold and black markings!
 

TerraN_EmpirE

Tyrant King
Difference lies in priorities.
All civilian-based tankers are cargo/passenger planes at the same time, but they are tied to better runways and airports to service.
There is no such thing as a civilian air to air refuelling tanker.
All tankers have some cargo capacity retained. It may lack the big door but it's there otherwise it would have a time of empty space as the fuel density to weight load comes into effect.
 

Gloire_bb

Junior Member
Registered Member
There is no such thing as a civilian air to air refuelling tanker.
All tankers have some cargo capacity retained. It may lack the big door but it's there otherwise it would have a time of empty space as the fuel density to weight load comes into effect.
There are private air refuelling service providers, actually. But this is not what i meant.
I mean, the best base aircraft for a tanker is a civilian airliner.
 

kwaigonegin

Colonel
There are private air refuelling service providers, actually. But this is not what i meant.
I mean, the best base aircraft for a tanker is a civilian airliner.
Whats your definition of best?
From an engineering and strategic perspective there is no reason why civilian airframes is any better than a military cargo plane. In fact I would argue otherwise. A cargo plane can still be useful as a dual role when not in the tanking mission but a civilian based model not as much since there is no rear ramp.
The only reason why the US/NATO uses civilian models is because Boeing has been around for a very long time making heavy airliners and influential in their lobbying capacity. It’s no different than why the Orion, Poseidon etc all use civilian airframes. The tooling, production lines, supply chain etc can be easily reopened and productionized.
Unlike the US, China is very new to making indigenous heavies.. both civilian and military so they can opt for using the Y20 as their tankers instead of from COMAC. etc...
if say COMAC has been making passenger airliners for decades I can perhaps see the logic in using those models but since they aren’t, in a way they can start from a clean slate in choosing a military plane as their primary tanker.
Also unlike the Pentagon with budgetary constraints, red tape and accountability to the civilian leadership, creating local jobs etc, China’s military acquisition is holistically state run and highly state influenced so they get to pick what they want within reason without much conformity and pressure from corporations, lobbyists, politicians etc.
 

Gloire_bb

Junior Member
Registered Member
Whats your definition of best?
Civilian airliners are optimized by decades of brutal competition on the global market, all for one same thing: stay in the air, loaded, as much as possible and as effeciently as possible.
It is an ideal recipe for a tanker, main metrics for which are:
Ability to transfer as much as possible fuel, as far as possible, and burn as little as possible of your own fuel in process.

For Military cargo planes, their cargoholds are both their blessings(dual usage) and their downfall(they are just worse aerodinamically, airliners are almost perfect sigars). STOL comes at a price, too. To put it bluntly, i believe there is only one airforce, which can justify transport-based tanker by pure tactical requirements(RuAF), and even here it is a very... muddy ground. Decision to cancel proper il-96 based ones was a painful one.

And it works all the same for other platforms, which need to fly as much as possible,but aren't designed to come under fire.

I understand reasons behind chinese choice, too(there is no choice, basically). But in future, as better options come, it is likely to change.
 

TerraN_EmpirE

Tyrant King
Whats your definition of best?
From an engineering and strategic perspective there is no reason why civilian airframes is any better than a military cargo plane.
The Russians were a little weird on this as they duel roled military cargo aircraft as civilian airliners from time to time. But generally the civilian and military aircraft are optimized for two different things.
Military priority is the ability to load cargo without assistance in rough fields and the ability to take off from such this places a premium on fast take off and landing in short fields.
Civilian designs are more optimized for long flight duration. Fuel economy is the main thrust.
A cargo plane can still be useful as a dual role when not in the tanking mission but a civilian based model not as much since there is no rear ramp.
As I pointed out earlier most tankers have some duel role even airliner based designs like the KC10 can and do carry passengers and cargo regularly. The British when they bought A330MRTT infact use some of those as VIP transports. Cargo is more difficult to load and you are not going to land on a rough field with one but for more common logistics it works.
The main reason why use of passenger airliners is the rule is cheapness. Boeing airliners are far cheaper and readily available for spare parts and frames then military specific aircraft.
The PLAAF came into it like the Russians have using military aircraft. This is because those were more mature and available.

However against both I point out we now live in an age where ground based missile systems can kill AWACS and Tankers based on either design from hundreds of miles. And those are critical nodes to support fighter operations.
 
Top