China puts new Y-9 transport planes through readiness exercise

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China’s new domestically-built Y-9 transport plane underwent rigorous flight tests last week and now appears combat-ready.

The People’s Liberation Army Air Force, or PLAAF, announced on social media last week that that a fleet of the aircraft from the Western Theatre Command flew thousands of miles practice an airdrop over an island in the contested South China Sea, then returned the same day.

A statement from the PLAAF said the exercise was conducted under combat conditions — without any weather data or guidance from a command center.

The plane can transport up to 25 tons of cargo, personnel and gear and travel nearly 4,900 miles.

The exercise “shows the Y-9 is a good tactical transport aircraft to deal with small incidents near these waters and can increase the Chinese military’s flexibility,” Liu Bao, a military officer who participated in the drill, said. [source]

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