August 25, 2022
BEIJING – The People’s Liberation Army Air Force will display its latest addition — the YY-20 large aerial refueling aircraft — during a public event starting on Friday in Changchun, capital of Jilin province.
Displaying a photo showing a YY-20 flying with a J-20 stealth fighter jet and a J-16 strike fighter, Senior Colonel Shen Jinke, spokesman for the PLA Air Force, told a news conference in Changchun on Wednesday that the event will be the first opportunity for the public to get a close look at the YY-20, which was declassified at the end of July.
The new tanker is a variant of China’s Y-20 strategic transport plane. Like the Y-20, the new plane was made by State-owned defense contractor, the Aviation Industry Corp of China.
At a news conference in Beijing last month, Shen said that the YY-20 had carried out aerial refueling exercises with a J-16 aircraft above the sea.
He said the plane boosts the PLA Air Force’s long-range capabilities and can also transport personnel and cargo like the Y-20.
Before the YY-20, the PLA Air Force made use of a small number of HY-6 tankers, refitted versions of the decades-old H-6 bombers. It also has several Ilyushin Il-78 aerial refueling jets purchased from Russia.
In another development, Shen said that the J-20, J-16, Y-20 and other advanced aircraft will take part in an aerial display at the Changchun event, with PLA Air Force aerobatic teams engaging in stunt performances.
This will be the first public PLA Air Force event in three years.