China's transport, tanker & heavy lift aircraft


ACuriousPLAFan

Captain
Registered Member
What country in APEX that have larger tanker fleet than China? Do you count the US and Russia?
Technically speaking, China could already have a larger tanker fleet than Russia right now, but only marginally (30+ versus 20).

However, the advantage in airframe numbers that China has over Russia is neutralized by the much smaller fuel-carrying capacity of the H-6Us cmpared to the IL78/Ms.

To chase after the US (with 500+ tanker aircrafts), China still has a loooooooong way to go.
 

lcloo

Senior Member
The total number of China's YY-20/H-6U/IL-78 is certaintly more than Russia Far East/Asia Pacific Region fleet. And although US has around 500 air tankers, not a majority of them are stationed in Asia Pacific, so it is hard to quantify who has more tankers now and 5 years from today.

We have to be reminded that USAF's tanker fleet is spread over different regions on the planet, and majority of the fleet are aging KC-135 whose availability rates are a great concern to USAF and presumely most of them are kept inside US with USAF Reserve and Air National Guards.

Considering that each USAF tanker squadron has 12 aircraft each, how many squadrons are there in Japan, Alaska, Haiwaii and Guam? Thus the question is that can US match in quantity the fast increasing numbers of YY-20 in this region after 5 years time?

siezecrossbow's posting at previous page points to the "scary" rates of YY-20 production, and the numbers of tankers in Asia Pacific Region after 5 years from now.
 
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ACuriousPLAFan

Captain
Registered Member

lcloo

Senior Member
If China's development of a C-5 class aircraft is true, the biggest challence will likely be engine development. In regard to other aspects of aircraft design, they can use their experience from Y20's development, and also study the designs of Boeing 747 freighters owned by Chinese airlines as well as C-5, AN-124 and AN-225.

There is no need to re-invent the wheel, thus the need to study features of existing large freighters, and combine with China's own R&D, I hope they will come out with a design that is uniquely Chinese's own.
 

sunnymaxi

Senior Member
Registered Member
If China's development of a C-5 class aircraft is true, the biggest challence will likely be engine development. In regard to other aspects of aircraft design, they can use their experience from Y20's development, and also study the designs of Boeing 747 freighters owned by Chinese airlines as well as C-5, AN-124 and AN-225.

There is no need to re-invent the wheel, thus the need to study features of existing large freighters, and combine with China's own R&D, I hope they will come out with a design that is uniquely Chinese's own.
When AVIC and Antonov signed the agreement in 2016 for rebuilding second un-finished AN-225 in mainland. they reveled a lot important information.

back in 2016, here are some statements from AVIC officials

'China will develop transport jets that are even larger than the Y-20, like the Lockheed C-5 Galaxy and former Soviet Union's Antonov An-124, Zhu Qian, head of AVIC's large aircraft development office'

'AVIC President Zhang Yousheng said the production base of AN-225 will be built is the world's single largest scale, matching the most complete, most technologically advanced integrated base, but also the world's large transport aircraft. and we have industrial capability to produce any type of heavy lifter aircraft'.

unfortunately deal didn't go through due to USA interference.

now you see, PLAAF is always interested in super heavy lifter like C-5/AN-124 but unavailability of engines hinder the project. but now situation has changed. WS-20 engine opened a new door for China. Shenyang liming engine institute already working on more powerful variant/successor of WS-20. A 25 tons WS-20 variant or successor currently under-development. if ever this project approve, they will use these improved engines.

C-5/AN-124 both have 50,000 lbs thrust engines.

In regard to other aspects of aircraft design, they can use their experience from Y20's development, and also study the designs of Boeing 747 freighters owned by Chinese airlines as well as C-5, AN-124 and AN-225.
just like AN-225 based on AN-124.

Y-20 solid foundation will help AVIC to design 70 meters lengthy heavy lifter aircraft.
 

Red tsunami

Junior Member
Registered Member
When AVIC and Antonov signed the agreement in 2016 for rebuilding second un-finished AN-225 in mainland. they reveled a lot important information.

back in 2016, here are some statements from AVIC officials

'China will develop transport jets that are even larger than the Y-20, like the Lockheed C-5 Galaxy and former Soviet Union's Antonov An-124, Zhu Qian, head of AVIC's large aircraft development office'

'AVIC President Zhang Yousheng said the production base of AN-225 will be built is the world's single largest scale, matching the most complete, most technologically advanced integrated base, but also the world's large transport aircraft. and we have industrial capability to produce any type of heavy lifter aircraft'.

unfortunately deal didn't go through due to USA interference.

now you see, PLAAF is always interested in super heavy lifter like C-5/AN-124 but unavailability of engines hinder the project. but now situation has changed. WS-20 engine opened a new door for China. Shenyang liming engine institute already working on more powerful variant/successor of WS-20. A 25 tons WS-20 variant or successor currently under-development. if ever this project approve, they will use these improved engines.

C-5/AN-124 both have 50,000 lbs thrust engines.


just like AN-225 based on AN-124.

Y-20 solid foundation will help AVIC to design 70 meters lengthy heavy lifter aircraft.

The new generation high bypass ratio engine based on WS-15 core engine is also a feasible choice.
 

ACuriousPLAFan

Captain
Registered Member
Firstly, let's call this "Chinese counterpart to the C-5" large airlifter as the Y-50 (运50) for convenience's sake.

If China's development of a C-5 class aircraft is true, the biggest challence will likely be engine development. In regard to other aspects of aircraft design, they can use their experience from Y20's development, and also study the designs of Boeing 747 freighters owned by Chinese airlines as well as C-5, AN-124 and AN-225.
Speaking of referencing other freighters for the Y-50, I don't think 747F would be a particularly good choice, mainly because 747 freighters is still a civilian-based airframe. Y-50, meanwhile, would be a primarily military-and-cargo-based airframe, so there definitely are significant differences between these two types of airframes.

A more suitable target for referring the 747F would be the C929F, but even that would prove to be a stretch, considering airlines today (both passenger and cargo) prefers twin-engined planes over three- and four-engined planes for fuel efficiency and easier maintenance. 767F, 777F, A330F and A350F would be better choices for C929F's reference.

There is no need to re-invent the wheel, thus the need to study features of existing large freighters, and combine with China's own R&D, I hope they will come out with a design that is uniquely Chinese's own.
Firstly, I'm not sure what you meant by "come out with a design that is uniquely Chinese' own"?

Those large freighters, i.e. airlifters for Y-50's reference defenitely are the C-5 and An-124. Although, sadly, China does not own any An-124 for detailed study, and Russia is certainly going to need An-124 in the ongoing war even more than China does.

Another note: I do wonder if China would be interested in pursuing civilian airliner-derived airlifters likes the 747 Dreamlifter and A330 Beluga XL as well, or just pursue the very large airlifters for universal-use instead like the An-225?

When AVIC and Antonov signed the agreement in 2016 for rebuilding second un-finished AN-225 in mainland. they reveled a lot important information.

back in 2016, here are some statements from AVIC officials

'China will develop transport jets that are even larger than the Y-20, like the Lockheed C-5 Galaxy and former Soviet Union's Antonov An-124, Zhu Qian, head of AVIC's large aircraft development office'

'AVIC President Zhang Yousheng said the production base of AN-225 will be built is the world's single largest scale, matching the most complete, most technologically advanced integrated base, but also the world's large transport aircraft. and we have industrial capability to produce any type of heavy lifter aircraft'.

unfortunately deal didn't go through due to USA interference.
Right after the An-225 was destroyed by Russian missile strikes at Hostomel in late February 2023, recall that someone on the Chinese socmed mentioned of an aviation component salvage(?) and recycling(?) company that was set up in Shanghai in early March 2022?

Those who posted about this claimed that the company is going to retrieve An-225's wreckage from Ukraine for "recycling and disposal purposes" in China. Now, I wonder how that went.

now you see, PLAAF is always interested in super heavy lifter like C-5/AN-124 but unavailability of engines hinder the project. but now situation has changed. WS-20 engine opened a new door for China. Shenyang liming engine institute already working on more powerful variant/successor of WS-20. A 25 tons WS-20 variant or successor currently under-development. if ever this project approve, they will use these improved engines.

C-5/AN-124 both have 50,000 lbs thrust engines.
The new generation high bypass ratio engine based on WS-15 core engine is also a feasible choice.
Regarding engines for the Y-50, I think there are three viable choices:

1. High-bypass ratio version of the WS-15 engine;
2. Enlarged version of the WS-20 engine; or
3. Adopting the CJ-2000 engine from the civilian version.

For #3, it would be pretty direct. For instance, the C-5M are using the same CF-6 engines as the 767, A300, A310 and MD-11. So I don't really see any problem with using CJ-2000 on both the C929 and Y-50 (depending which one is ready first).

For #1, WS-20 is a close-to-ready product, so it would be easier to start deviving a larger version from it. For #2, meanwhile, we might have to wait for quite some time, since the initial low-bypass ratio WS-15 is still undergoing testing at this time.

~~~

One other thing which I am curious about this large airlifter that China is claimed to be working on is - Should China just pursue a blended-wing body airlifter instead of the typical conventional-layout airlifter? Because it does looks like the US is pursuing the concept for their next-generation airlifter as well, although I need to say that I'm not knowledgable on how the pros-versus-cons considerations would've played out.
 
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