Chinese military plane boosts global reach: State media
BEIJING (AFP) - China's new long-distance military transport aircraft will "enhance its global power projection ability", state media said today, after the plane's maiden flight at the weekend.
The Y-20, China's biggest home-produced military transport jet to date, had its first test flight on Saturday in the north-west of the country, just months after Beijing's first aircraft carrier entered service.
The state-run Global Times hailed the "significant milestone", saying China needed the planes, which can carry a load of 66 tonnes over distances of up to 4,400km, to "enhance its global power projection ability." The aircraft will allow China's military to end its dependence on the Russian-made Il-76, a mainstay of humanitarian and disaster relief around the world, the Global Times quoted a military expert as saying.
The Y-20 is capable of carrying the heaviest tank used by China's army, the China Daily reported, quoting a military expert as saying that "the heavy air freighters will ensure that we are able to safeguard our interests overseas".