Chinese-Built Turbofan Spotted On Wing Of AVIC Y-20 Flying Testbed


The CJ-1000 has been developed to power the Comac C919 airliner.

Credit: Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology

HONG KONG—A Xian Y-20 strategic airlifter belonging to the AVIC Flight Test Center was spotted for the first time in China, equipped with the domestically developed CJ-1000A high-bypass turbofan.

In a video circulating online, the aircraft is shown painted in AVIC’s white livery with the CJ-1000A in the no.2 engine position. The airlifter is approaching an unspecific airfield, likely AVIC’s facility in Yanliang, Shaanxi province.

Developed by the Aero Engine Corporation of China (AECC), the CJ-1000A has been developed as an alternate powerplant for the Comac C919 narrowbody airliner, which is equipped with the CFM International Leap 1C.

China’s initial plan was to put the CJ-1000A into service by 2020, but that timeline was shifted right by a new requirement to produce the engine with fully domestic parts.

AVIC’s Y-20 testbed succeeds its Ilyushin IL-76 testbed acquired in the 1990s. It is not clear whether AVIC will continue to use the Russian-built aircraft.

Separately, the first Y-20 to be powered by a Chinese-made engine, AECC’s WS-20, is expected to enter operational service soon. Unofficially known as the Y-20B, the aircraft was spotted painted in the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) grey scheme with PLAAF roundel, although the serial number was not yet applied. In-service Y-20s are currently equipped with Russian-made engines.

Chen Chuanren

Chen Chuanren is the Southeast Asia and China Editor for the Aviation Week Network’s (AWN) Air Transport World (ATW) and the Asia-Pacific Defense Correspondent for AWN, joining the team in 2017.