BEIJING, Feb. 29 (UPI) -- China's Y-20 large military transport, built by Xi'an Aircraft Industrial Corporation, is likely to enter service this year.
People's Daily, an official publication of China's Communist Party, reported the assessment was made by Xu Yongling, a military expert.
Xu, speaking in an interview with the publication, said the in-service decision for this year is likely since there have been no bottlenecks during the aircraft's development or manufacturing phases.
The Y-20 Kunpeng, also known as the Chubby Girl, made its first flight in 2013. It is the world's fourth 200-ton transport, following those by the United States, Russia and Ukraine.
"This is not only progress for China's national defense industry, but also a milestone of industrial and military modernization," Xu said.
The Y-20 has a cargo capacity of about 60 tons, a cruise speed of 570.4 miles per hour, and a range of about 2,796 miles while carrying a full payload.
In addition to carrying cargo and troops, the airlifter could be used for maritime surveillance and early warning.
"As for future military developments, airborne transportation depends not only on the Y-20, but also on other military cargo jets, which China may develop in the next five to ten years, the newspaper quoted Xu.