China’s Transport Aircraft Takes First Flight
Chinese state media reports China’s first transport aircraft, dubbed the Y-20, has taken its first successful test flight. The Y-20 is China’s first domestically made jumbo air freighter. From Xinhua:
The Yun-20, or Transport-20, is a huge, multi-function airfreighter which can perform various long-distance air transportation tasks targeting cargo and passengers, Xinhua learnt on Saturday.
The successful maiden flight of Yun-20 is significant in promoting China’s economic and national defense buildup as well as bettering its emergency handling such as disaster relief and humanitarian aid.
The giant aircraft will continue to undergo experiments and test flights as scheduled.
This comes amid concerns over China’s focus on aerospace development. With the unveiling of a stealth fighter, according to Bloomberg, the new freight plane is extending China’s military modernization program:
China achieved a military milestone when its fighter jet landed on its new aircraft carrier in November, extending a modernization bid that’s recorded advances in submarines, cyber warfare and in outer space.
The aircraft tests underscore China’s progress in military modernization, which has been accompanied by a doubling of the defense budget in six years. China, the biggest spender on defense after the U.S., has become increasingly assertive in the region as President Barack Obama executes a strategic shift toward Asia and tensions rise with Japan and other nations over territorial disputes.
China’s defense spending, estimated at 670 billion yuan ($108 billion) in 2012, has more than doubled since 2006, tracking a rise in nominal gross domestic product to 47.2 trillion yuan from 21.6 trillion yuan.
Read more about aviation in China, via CDT.