The Shaanxi Y-9 is classified as a medium-range transport aircraft, roughly equivalent to the US Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules.

China is rapidly developing various military systems, competing fiercely with Russia and the West in all categories. For transport aircraft, in an attempt to compete with the legendary American C-130 series, the Shaanxi Y-9 was born. This is essentially a stretched and upgraded development of the Shaanxi Y-8F.

The Y-9 is based on the Shaanxi Y-8, a much older aircraft, produced in the early 1980s. The Y-8 itself is a copy of the Antonov An-12 from the Soviet Union, which Beijing had started license producing in the 1960s.

Basically, the Y-9 still inherits the qualities of its predecessor. It had a high-mounted wing configuration, and the four-engine layout remained the same. Streamlined fuselage and single-fin tail unit. A loading ramp and doors allow access to the cargo hold at the base of the tail, a feature common to most any cargo-hauler in military service today. Some special purpose variants such as the Y-9G have the rear ramp door removed.

The Y-9 has a length of about 36m, a wingspan of 38m, a height of 11.3m, and a maximum take-off weight of 65 tons. It is powered by four WoJiang WJ-6C turboprop engines. The propellers are six-bladed and made with Chinese JL-4 composites. The WJ-6C is replaced by the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW150B in the Y-9E export variant. The Y-9 can reach a top speed of 650 km/h, a cruise speed of 550 km/h, a range of 2,200 km, and a service ceiling of 10,400 m.

The Y-9 is designed for 25 tons of cargo but can reportedly carry up to 30 tons. The aircraft can fit up to 106 passengers, 132 paratroopers, or 72 stretchers. For vehicles, it can carry two para-droppable ZBD-03 airborne combat vehicles as well as various other military equipment such as light trucks, cargo containers or pallets.


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