China has painted the Y-20 black for unknown reasons. Though it looks good in that color, not much more is known about the elusive aircraft. This photo and others appeared on the Chinese-language Sina website.
It appears that speculation that China’s Y-20 heavy lift military transport will conduct its first flight this year could be wrong. Based on photographs provided courtesy of Virginia-based GeoEye, taken December 25, 2012, by GeoEye’s IKONOS satellite, and taken on January 1, 2013, by GeoEye-1, the new cargo transport appears to be ruling the tarmac at Yanliang Airbase. Though the photographs do not show it taxing or flying, its location on the tarmac suggests it could have already been test flown. Defense News profiled new photos of the aircraft from Chinese websites on this blog on December 12.
Andrew Erickson and Gabe Collins have come up with a Top Ten major trends to watch for in China in the Year of the Snake (2013). These are issues that policy makers, businesspeople and the general public should follow closely to understand China’s growth and evolution.
Amongst the predictions, China will face growing internal challenges, China’s new leaders may adopt a more nationalistic foreign policy, particularly vis-à-vis regional disputes; China will be the world’s single largest builder of warships; details of China’s next aircraft carrier will emerge; and the Y-20 transport aircraft will take its first flight.
Andrew Erickson is a professor at the U.S. Naval War College and a research associate at Harvard’s Fairbank Center. Co-founder of China SignPost (洞察中国) with Gabe Collins, founder of ChinaOilTrader.com and is a J.D. candidate at the University of Michigan Law School.
New photos show China’s new Y-20 heavy lift military transport. The photos were posted on various Chinese-language military blogs, including Air Force World and Huanqiu. China’s military needs a heavy lift transport to deal with the challenges of operating beyond Chinese airspace. There is also a requirement for a heavy lift transport to respond to domestic emergencies, such as the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake.