Jul 29, 2014

China needs 400 Y-20 cargo planes for military transport

The People's Liberation Army will need at least 400 Y-20 cargo planes produced by the Xi'an Aircraft Industrial Corporation in order to catch up with the force projection capabilities of the United States, Russia and India, according to a report published by the National Defense University of China cited in the party-run People's Daily.
The report said that the three-dimensional transportation network in China consisting of air, ground and maritime vehicles will play an important role in improve the force projection capability of the Chinese military. During an exercise in 2009, passenger and cargo planes from civilian airlines were mobilized to transfer 50,000 officers from China's four different military regions to participate in the exercise along with military aircraft and ground transporation.
Bohai Sea Green Pearl, a 36,000-tonne ferry vessel launched in Aug. 2012, can also be modified into China's largest amphibious augmentation platform when the PLA Navy needs.
Various weaknesses regarding China's force projection capabilities were laid out in the report as well. First, China does not have enough large ferry vessels like the Bohai Sea Green Pearl to launch a large-scale amphibious invasion. Second, China does not have enough large military cargo planes such as the Y-20.
Currently, the United States Air Force has 700 large transports used for strategic airlift. The Russian Air Force has 800 medium transports while the Indian Air Force has 200. As the report said, the PLA Air Force needs at least 400 Y-20 cargo aircraft to transport 10 regiments of soldiers to conduct military operations in different battlefronts along the Asia-Pacific region. Meanwhile, some air force bases in China are still unable to accomodate large cargo planes like the Il-76.

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