China’s new Y-20 cargo plane (that looks like a C-17/A-400M hybrid) lands at Zhuhai, parks close to C-17

China-made airlifter (that looks like a C-17/A-400M hybrid) is one of the highlights of Zhuhai airshow.

The Stealthy J-31 “Falcon Eagle” is not the only highlight of the China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition: the Y-20 a brand new military cargo plane that made its maiden flight on Jan. 26, 2013 is also taking part in the Zhuhai airshow, which starts next week in China.

The Chinese airlifter arrived at Zhuhai from Xi’an Yanliang Airport at 11:54AM LT after a 3-hour flight, on Nov. 5.

The following video shows the Y-20 land at the end of its practice display and park in the apron reserved to the large aircraft, close to the Boeing C-17 of the UAE Air Force, supporting the Al Fursan display team.

The large military transport plane is a hybrid between the U.S. C-17, the Airbus A400M Atlas four-engine turboprop, and the nose section of the Antonov An-70; in July 2009, a former Boeing employee was convicted of selling secret C-17 technical details to China.

The image below lets you compare the shape of the two airlifters.

Comparison Y-20 C-17

Image credit: @AK630


About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. The engines of that cargo plane are a joke, 2014 and no high by pass turbofan on a brand new plane..

    • Y-20s current interim D-30s…:
      ..Are to be replaced with WS-20s for serial production:

      Ironically, WS-20 is the high bypass version of WS-10, which itself is an afterburning turbofan derived from the CFM-56 core.

      Given this is an aviation community, may as well dish out another photo: this is the CFTE engine testbed Il-76 with WS-20 taken early last year — hint, it’s the bigger one

      • So they are developing an already developed engine design, I mean: Chinese airlines are full of 737s and 320s, wouldn’t it be quicker to take a CFM-56 from one of those airliners and reverse engineer it to adapt it to Y-20, they already copied the Su-27, it should not be so difficult for them to copy a CFM starting from the fact they have developed the WS10 from the core of a CFM…

        • The issue isn’t so much designing a turbofan – like you said, there are plenty of readily available examples to reverse engineer – but manufacturing them. The metallurgy required for the turbine blades to have a reasonable lifespan between overhauls is extremely challenging to develop and manufacture in quantity, and this is part of the issue the Chinese have had with the WS-10 and other domestic jet engine programs.

        • Well WS-10/A is basically a CFM core (ironically taken from their initial high bypass CFM-56s) adapted to become an afterburning turbofan ala F100 or F110. WS-20 is taking their afterburning WS-10 and developing a high bypass turbofan. I imagine developing a high bypass version of WS-10 would be easier than doing it from a CFM-56 variant they are less familiar with.
          So they are basically doing what you described, but instead they developed an afterburning F110 class turbofan first.
          A simplified family tree would go like this:
          US: CFM-56 (and other high bypass variants) –> F101 –> F110
          China: CFM-56 –> WS-10/A –> WS-20 (high bypass)

    • Those engines are part of the new Chinese countermeasure system.

      They contribute to the smog in the background.

  2. No sue happy noise police in China. So I’m pretty sure they don’t care about the noise and gas guzzling.

  3. Tail from the A400M, wing and wingbox from the Il-76 and nose from the An-70. On the other hand, the Chinese could argue that “form follows function” and that there is no need to reinvent the wheel.

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