Will Y-20 have indigenous engine for 2017 service entry?

After yesterday’s China Daily story quoting Xian Y-20 design
chief Tang Jun (also spelled Tang Changhong) about the type’s export potential,
the Ministry of National Defence has published another China Daily story based
on his comments. The exuberant headline says it all: “Confidence sky-high over
jumbo cargo plane.”

The
country’s first jumbo airfreighter is set for take-off into official service,
its chief designer said weeks after its successful maiden test flight,” reports
China Daily.

Y20_airlifter_ChineseInternet.jpg

“When fitted with Chinese-designed and manufactured engines,
the Yun-20, or Transport-20, will have a greater take-off weight, longer
fuselage and carry more cargo.”
 

Tang is
reported as saying that the type will enter service in 2017.
  Tantalisingly, the report also notes this: “[The
Y-20]
is currently powered by four Russian-made engines, but these will
ultimately be replaced by engines designed and made in China.”

It will
be interesting to see how long it takes Beijing to get an indigenous engine
flying on the Y-20, and if the engine will be ready for the 2017 target.

The report also gave a few details about the Y-20′s
dimensions: 45m wingspan (vs. 51.74m for C-17) ,
 MTOW of 200 tonnes (vs. 265 tonnes for C-17) ,
and “load-carrying capacity of 66 tons” (vs. 77.5 tonnes for C-17).

If these numbers are correct, there is a strong
possibility the Y-20 (in its current state) is seriously under-powered compared
with its US counterpart. Most pundits believe the Y-20 prototype is powered by
the Soloviev D-30s used aboard Tupolev 154M airliner and the improved
Il-76MD – an after burning version powers the MiG-31.
  The D-30, however, produces maximum thrust of
23,150 lbf (103 kN), compared with the 40,440 lbf
  (180kN) certified maximum performance of the
Pratt & Whitney F117-PW-100 turbofan that powers the C-17.

For me, the most intriguing option for a future Y-20 power plant
is a hypothetical military variant of the CJ-1000A, an indigenous power plant
for the 
Comac
C919
 airliner that is being developed by AVIC Commercial Aircraft
Engine.

In September 2011, Comac told Flightglobal that the
high-bypass CJ-1000A will be capable of producing up to 44,000lb-thrust
(196kN). This is considerably greater than the 28,000-30,000lb thrust of the
C919′s launch power plant, the 
CFM International Leap
1C. It also would exceed the F117′s certificated maximum performance of
40,400lb.

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One Response to Will Y-20 have indigenous engine for 2017 service entry?

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