BEIJING, March 3 -- China on Saturday completed two more ground slide tests for Y-20, its biggest home-grown transport aircraft, following its successful January maiden flight, the air freighter's chief designer said.
Tang Changhong, chief designer for Y-20, or Transport-20, revealed more details about the multi-function jumbo transport jet in an interview with Xinhua on the sidelines of the annual session of China's top political advisory body, which opened on Sunday afternoon.
"The successful test flight of Y-20 marks a milestone in China's aviation industry and we're moving a step closer toward building a strategic air power for the country," said Tang, who is a member of the 12th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, the country's top political advisory body.
Following the latest tests at a center in west China, Tang said it took five years for Chinese designers to manufacture and test-fly the jumbo air freighter.
"Compared with heavy-lift transport aircraft developers in foreign countries, our development cycle is pretty fast," said Tang, who once served as the chief designer for China's fighter-bomber jet JH-7A.
Currently, large strategic air freighters in active service around the world include the Antonov An-225, the Ilyushin Il-76 and the Boeing C-17 Globemaster III.
According to the chief designer, the Y-20 has a traditional layout using tricycle landing gear and two 90-degree-deflecting wheels on the nose gear.
Tang noted the aircraft can be used in rescue relief efforts in earthquakes and other disasters, and will improve the Chinese military's rapid deployment capabilities.
Tang believes the Y-20 will serve as China's jumbo transport aircraft "over a very long period of time" in the future.
The Ministry of Defense confirmed shortly after the successful test flight on Jan. 26 that the Y-20, mainly developed by the Xi'an Aircraft Industry (Group) Company Ltd., has the highest load-carrying capacity of 66 tonnes, a fuselage length of 47 meters, a wingspan of 45 meters and a height of 15 meters, and bears the maximum take-off weight of 200 tonnes.
In voluntarily releasing news about Y-20's test flights, Chinese aircraft designers have shown their confidence and greatly boosted military transparency, according to Tang.
"The development and testing of high-end military technology and equipment is in line with China's defense and security policy that is purely defensive in nature," he added.
The official codename of the aircraft is Kunpeng, named after a legendary bird in Chinese mythology that can fly thousands of miles.