November 22, 2011:
China recently revealed the Y-8GX6, its answer to the American P-3C maritime patrol and anti-submarine aircraft. Both aircraft are similar in shape and equipment. Until the Y-8GX6 can be seen in action, it's difficult to say how close the two aircraft are in capability.
The Chinese Y-8GX6 is a four engine turboprop aircraft that weighs 61 tons, has a 38 meter (124.7 foot) wingspan and a cruising speed of 660 kilometers an hour. The Y-8 is based on the Russian An-12 and U.S. C-130.
The similar American P-3 is based on the Electra civilian airliner that first flew in 1954, although only 170 were built, plus 600 P-3s. About 40 Electras, and over 200 P-3s, are still in service.
The 61 ton P-3 has a 32.25 meter (100 foot) wingspan and can stay in the air about ten hours per sortie. Cruise speed is 590 kilometers an hour. The P-3C is being replaced by the P-8A, which is based on the twin-engine Boeing 737 jet transport. Like the P-3C, the Y-8GX6 carries radars and other sensors, as well as over five tons of sonobuoys, depth charges and torpedoes.