Chinese name: Yunshuji-8 (Transport aircraft 8)
TYPE: Medium transport/multirole
PROGRAMME: Redesign, as Chinese development of Antonov An-12B, started at Xian March 1969; first flight of first (Xian-built) prototype 25 December 1974, followed by second (c/n 001802, first built by SAC) 29 December 1975; production go-ahead given January 1980. Pressurised Y-8C made first flight 17 December 1990. Production rate was approximately five per year during first half of 1990s; new (mainly freighter) designations introduced with Y-8F100 and F200 from 1997; further F-prefixed variants revealed November 2000, presumably reflecting current manufacturing standard; three-person flight crews resulting from use of modernised avionics; apparently now seen to have more future in cargo and military roles, following reported difficulties with pressurisation system.
CURRENT VERSIONS: Y-8: Prototype and baseline military transport.
Y-8A: Helicopter carrier. Main cabin height increased by 120 mm (4.72 in) by deleting internal gantry; downward-opening rear ramp/door, as in Y-8C. Deliveries began 1987. In service.
Y-8B: Mainly unpressurised civil transport. First deliveries 1986; CAAC certification 1993. Military equipment deleted; empty weight reduced by 1,720 kg (3,792 lb); some avionics differ. In service.
Y-8C: First fully pressurised version, developed with Lockheed collaboration. Changes included redesigned (downward-opening ramp-type) cargo loading door and main landing gear; handling system for standard freight containers and pallets; improved com/nav/ATC equipment, air conditioning and oxygen systems; additional emergency exits. First flight 17 December 1990 (SAC 182, converted from first Shaanxi prototype); CAAC certification 1993. Five delivered by January 1994 (latest figure received); apparently superseded by Y-8F200/F400.
Y-8D: Export baseline version, with main avionics by Rockwell Collins and Litton. Later versions designated.
Y-8D II. Deliveries began 1987 (Y-8D) and 1992 (Y-8D II); eight delivered by early 1997; none reported since then.
Y-8E: Drone carrier version of baseline Y-8 for Chang Hong (Long Rainbow) UAV. Forward pressure cabin accommodates drone controller's console; carrier/launch trapeze for one UAV under each outer wing panel. First flight 1989; first deliveries later that year, replacing obsolete Tu-4s. In service.
Y-8F: Livestock carrier version of baseline Y-8, with cages to hold up to 500 sheep or goats. First flight early 1990; first deliveries later that year; CAAC type approval January 1994. In service.
Y-8F100: Cargo version for China Postal Airlines (three); delivered 1997 with WJ6A engines. Apparently now the baseline part-unpressurised version.
Y-8F200: Pressurised version of F100, certified by CAAC in late 1997. Increased internal passenger/cargo volume.
Detailed description applies to F-100/200 unless otherwise indicated.
Y-8F300: Freighter. Generally as Y-8F100, but with 'solid' nose and reduced (three-person) flight crew.
Y-8F400: Pressurised freighter. Generally as Y-8F200, but with 'solid' nose and reduced (three-person) flight crew. Said to have flown by September 2001 and to be scheduled for refit with PW150A engines; said to be nearing certification in late 2002. China Postal Airlines suggested as possible launch customer.
Y-8F600: Further Westernised, 'solid'-nosed freighter version, with Pratt & Whitney Canada PW150B turboprops and Dowry six-blade composites propellers, Honeywell Primus Epic avionics suite, two-person flight crew; otherwise generally similar to Y-8F400. Antonov ASTC is risk-sharing partner. Two under construction late 2000; first flight was expected by end of 2001, but not reported by mid-2003. Certification targeted for 2005 and service entry early 2006.
Y-8F800: Proposed version: stretched, with redesigned wings and landing gear; payload/range target of 30,000 kg (66,139 lb) over 4,200 n miles (7,778 km; 4,833 miles).
Y-8H: Aerial survey version. No details yet known.
Y-8X: Designation applied originally to maritime patrol prototype (B-4101), with Western com/nav, radar, surveillance and search equipment; larger chin radome. Received type approval in September 1984; no further examples confirmed, although some reports suggest PLA Navy has eight. Details in earlier editions. Designation revived in 2002 and applied to newly developed strategic airlift version.
Y-8X: Tentative designation (2002) for much-enhanced version with redesigned fuselage and tail unit, all-new wings and 4,847 kW (6.500 shp) class turboprops.
Antonov ASTC collaborating in design. Projected MTOW of 81,000 kg (178.574 lb), including 30,000 kg (66,139 lb) payload. Performance targets include 307 kt (568 km/h; 353 mph) cruising speed at 9,000 m (29,520 ft); range 1,349 n miles (2,500 km; 1,553 miles) with max payload or 3,606 n miles (6,680 km; 4,150 miles) with reduced payload of 16,000 kg (35,274 lb).
'Y-8 AEW': At least one aircraft (CFTE serial number 079) fitted with BAE Systems (formerly Racal) Skymaster AEW radar, six of which ordered under US$66 million contract in 1996. Reportedly first flew November 1998. Radar, installed in bulbous nose fairing, has 360° scan and more than 200 n mile (370 km; 230 mile) range. Observed in PLA Navy exercises, reportedly transmitting information via datalink to ship-based Z-9 helicopters. Chinese official designation not yet known.
CUSTOMERS: Total of about 90, including exports, reportedly delivered (of which 50 can be confirmed) by late 2002. In service in China with commercial operators, China Postal service (three) and PLA Air Force; eight military exports (Y-8D) to air forces of Myanmar (four), Sri Lanka (three) and Sudan (one). First two Sri Lankan aircraft modified locally for use as bombers (both since lost). Two (including at least one Y-8F100) leased to BonAir of Iran from May 1998.
DESIGN FEATURES: High-mounted wing; circular-section fuselage (forward section and tail turret pressurised), upswept at rear; angular tail surfaces with large dorsal fin. More pointed nose transparencies than An-12, probably from Chinese H-6 (Tu-16) production; shorter, 'solid' nose replaces this glazing in F300/F400.
Wing sections C-5-18 at root, C-3-16 at rib 15 and C-3-14 at tip, final two digits indicating thickness/chord ratio; incidence 4°; 1° dihedral on intermediate panels, 4° anhedral on outboard panels; 6° 50' sweepback at quarter-chord; fixed-incidence tailplane.
FLYING CONTROLS: Conventional and manual. Aerodynamically balanced differential ailerons, elevators and rudder, each of which has inset trim tab; two-segment, hydraulically actuated double-slotted Fowler flaps on each wing trailing-edge; comb-shaped spoilers forward of flaps.
STRUCTURE: All-metal (aluminium alloy) conventional semi-monocoque/stressed skin; wings, tailplane and fin are all two-spar box structures; landing gear and all hydraulic components manufactured by Shaanxi Aero-Hydraulic Component Factory (SAHCF).
LANDING GEAR: Hydraulically retractable tricycle type, with Shaanxi (SAHCF) nitrogen/oil shock-struts on all units. Four-wheel main bogie on each side retracts inward and upward into blister on side of fuselage. Twin-wheel nose unit, hydraulically steerable to ±35°, retracts rearward. Mainwheel tyres size 1,050x300, pressure 28.40 bar (412 lb/sq in); nosewheel tyres size 900x300, pressure 16.70 bar (242 lb/sq in). Hydraulic disc brakes and Xingping inertial anti-skid sensor. Minimum ground turning radius 13.75 m (45 ft 11/2 in).
POWER PLANT: Except F600: Four 3,126 kW (4,192 shp) SAEC (Zhuzhon) WJ6A turboprops, each driving a Baoding four-blade J17-G13 constant-speed fully feathering propeller.
F600: Four 3,781 kW (5,071 shp) Pratt & Whitney Canada PW 150B turboprops, each driving a Dowty six-blade all-composites propeller.
All fuel (F100/F300) in two integral tanks and 29 bag-type tanks in wings (20,102 litres; 5,310.5 US gallons; 4,422 Imp gallons) and fuselage (10,075 litres; 2,661.5 US gallons; 2,216 Imp gallons), giving total capacity of 30,177 litres (7,971.5 US gallons; 6,638 Imp gallons). Reduced fuel load in F200/F400. Refuelling points in starboard side of fuselage (between frames 14 and 15), mainwheel fairing, and in wing upper surface.
ACCOMMODATION: Flight crew of five (pilot, co-pilot, navigator, engineer and radio operator) in early versions and F100/F200; three crew only in F300/F400/F600. Forward portion of fuselage in F100/F300 is pressurised, and can accommodate up to 14 passengers in addition to crew. Cargo compartment (between frames 13 and 43) is unpressurised in these versions. Pressurised volume increased in F200/F400; effective length of cargo hold extended internally by 2.00 m (6 ft 63/4 in). Maximum accommodation for up to 96 troops; or 80 paratroops; or up to 92 casualties with three medical attendants; or two 'Liberation' army trucks, plus Jeep-sized vehicle on loading ramp.
Short-hold freighter versions (Y-8F100 and Y-8F300) can accommodate optimum eight 2.24 x 1.37 m (88 x 54 in) plus four 2.24 x 2.74 m (88 x 108 in) standard cargo pallets or 17 LD3 containers. Larger (Y-8F200 and Y-8F400) hold can accept optimum four 2.24 x 3.18 m (88 x 125 in) plus four 2.44 x 3.18 m (96 x 125 in) pallets or 19 LD3s. Individual cargo items of up to 7,400 kg (16,315 lb) can be airdropped.
Crew door and two emergency exits in forward fuselage. Three additional emergency exits in cargo compartment, access to which is via a large rear-loading ramp/door in underside of rear fuselage.
SYSTEMS: Forward fuselage of F100/F200 pressurised to maintain a differential of 0.20 bar (2.8 lb/sq in) at altitudes above 4,300 m (14,100 ft). (F300/F400 fully pressurised.) Two independent hydraulic systems, with operating pressures of 152 bar (2,200 lb/sq in) (port) and 147 bar (2,130 lb/sq in) (starboard), plus hand and electrical standby pumps, for actuation of landing gear extension/retraction, nosewheel steering, flaps, brakes and rear ramp/door. Electrical DC power (28.5 V) supplied by eight 12 kW generators, an 18 kW (24 hp) Xian Aero Engine Company APU (mainly for engine starting) and four 28 Ah batteries. Four 12kVA alternators provide 115 V AC power at 400 Hz. Gaseous oxygen system for crew. Electric de-icing of windscreen, propellers and fin/tailplane leading-edges; hot air de-icing for wing leading-edges. WDZ-1 APU.
AVIONICS (Y-8F300/400): Comms: Rockwell Collins VHF-42B and HF-9000 com radios and TDR-94 ATC transponder.
Radar: Rockwell Collins TWR-850 colour weather radar.
Flight: Universal Avionics UNS-1K flight management system; Rockwell Collins VOR-432, DME-442, AHS-85E AHRS and EFIS-86E; Honeywell ED-55 flight data recorder.
Instrumentation: Honeywell Mk V nav display.
EQUIPMENT: Electric winch, tow, and 2,300 kg (5,070 lb) capacity hoist for cargo loading and unloading. Roller system for containerised or palletised cargo handling.