Chinese Y-20A delivers aid in first overseas mission

A Xi’an Aircraft Industry Group Y-20A, belonging to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) has delivered medical supplies to Pakistan, marking the type’s first operational overseas mission.

The jet-powered, heavy-lift strategic transport aircraft – serial 20044 – arrived in Pakistan on April 24, bringing nucleic acid detection kits, protective clothing and other virus prevention and control materials to the nation.

Y-20A [Chinese Ministry of Defence]
Chinese Ministry of Defence

This delivery is part of Chinese efforts to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical supplies to nations affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Along with transporting aid to Pakistan, the PLAAF has also responded to requests from the governments of Myanmar and Laos.

Serial 20044 belongs to the PLAAF’s 37th Air Regiment, part of the air arm’s 13th Transport Division at Kaifeng in China’s Henan province. At the start of the year, the unit began to replace its ageing Shaanxi Aircraft Company Y-8C turboprop-powered, four-engine, medium-lift transports – based on the Soviet-era Antonov An-12 Cub – with the larger Y-20A, which entered operational service in 2016. 

In 2014, it was reported that the Chinese military had outlined a requirement for up to 400 examples of the Y-20, but in more recent times, that number has risen to up to 1,000 for both military and civil operation.