Type 15 tank and Y-20 cargo plane combination enhances Chinese army capability

A Xian Aircraft Industrial Corporation Y-20 “Chubby Girl” four-engine cargo aircraft can reportedly carry two Type 15 light tanks (ZTQ-15) for long-range transport operations. This new combination enhances the Chinese military's strategic transport capability.

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A Y-20 large transport plane can carry two Type 15 lightweight tanks and realize long-range deployment of 7,800 kilometers (Picture source: screenshot from China Central Television)

Thanks to the Type 15 tank's lightweight of about 30 tons, a Y-20 can carry two of them at once and achieve long-range deployment of 7,800 kilometers, state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Wednesday, revealing this combination for the first time. The transcontinental flight-capable Y-20 transport aircraft can carry more than 60 tons, and the size of its large cargo bay can accommodate two Type 15 tanks. The Y-20 can also carry one Type 99A main battle tank, which weighs 58 tons.

The lightweight Type 15 is designed to efficiently operate in difficult terrains at high elevations, in mountainous regions and water-dense areas, where a heavy tank like Type 99A may not perform at full potential. Type 15 made its public debut at the National Day military parade on October 1, 2019, in Beijing. Some Type 15s were deployed in exercises in the plateaus of Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region in January 2020.

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