China’s Y-20 to Be Commissioned This Year Using Homegrown Engines

Prototype of China's homegrown Y-20 large transport

Prototype of China’s homegrown Y-20 large transport

China's homegrown H-6K strategic bomber

China’s homegrown H-6K strategic bomber

According to an article on Chinese website, China’s homegrown large transport Y-20 will begin commission this year and it will use China’s home-grown WS18 turbofan engines.

The article says that both Y-20 and H-6K had to use imported Russian D-30KP2 engines, but China has so far only imported 239 D-30KP2s. 41 of them have been used as spare engines for China’s 41 Il-76s with only 198 left, of which 24 have been used for Y-20 prototypes, the known number of which is 6.

The 176 left are not enough for the production of H-6Ks, the known number of which is at least 120 that need 240 D-30KP2s. As China has not purchased or ordered any more D-30KP2 and as WS series engines have been proved usable, China must have used WS-18 on the later batches of H-6Ks it has produced.

After all WS-18 has 13.2 ton thrust, bigger than D-30KP2. Moreover, we have seen photos of a Y-20 prototype that uses WS-18s and of one Il-76 that uses 4 WS-18s.

China needs Y-20 urgently as no large transport aircrafts are available in the international market. It needs Y-20 now to carry its heavy tanks and equipment for its airborne troops and lots of Y-20 aerial refueling tankers for its large number of H-6K strategic bombers.

Source: “Depth Column: Y-20 to be commissioned this year, using homegrown WS18 engine: H-6K has already switched to using WS18s” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)


2 Comments on “China’s Y-20 to Be Commissioned This Year Using Homegrown Engines”

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  2. Joseph says:

    Naturally, when China started developing Y-20, they already have solid turbofan engines technology in development. After all, China has been building turbofan engines since 1950s. It is logical to equip prototypes with proven engines such as D30KP-2. As they build more engines, the more mature their technology becomes. This way, the prototypes don’t have to wait the engine testing. The American did the same on their early stage of development. They used British Rolls Royce engines before they made their own. While the Russian succesfully copied and improved their turbofan technology from Rolls Royce, the American is still struggling to catch up with Rolls Royce in term of turbofan engine quality eventhough they have technology transfer from Roll Royce.