Beijing: China on Wednesday inducted its largest indigenously-built transport aircraft Y-20, a breakthrough in military aviation technology for the PLA that allows the world's largest force to transport cargo and troops over long distances in diverse weather conditions.
"The Y-20 entering into service marks a crucial step for the Air Force improving its strategic power projection capability," Air Force spokesperson Shen Jinke said.
With a maximum take off weight of 200 tonnes, the Y-20, which officially joined the PLA Air Force in Chengdu, is ideal for transporting cargo and personnel over long distances in diverse weather conditions, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
The Air Force needs more and better transport to better fulfil its military responsibilities, including safeguarding national security as well as domestic and international rescue and relief work, Shen said.
The Air Force has provided aid and delivered relief supplies to Pakistan, Mongolia, Thailand, Nepal and other countries as they were hit by disasters in recent years.
The indigenously designed and developed Y-20 took its maiden flight in January 2013 and made its debut at the 10th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in November 2014, Chinese officials said.
The plane is comparable to the Russian-made IL-76 and the US C-17. PLA officials earlier said Y-20 is more advanced than the IL-476.
The plane which made its maiden flight in January 2013 and underwent trials runs including in the rugged Tibetan terrain will make troop deployment easier, enabling the military to act more promptly and respond to emergencies in a better manner, officials said.
It is also regarded as a major breakthrough in military aviation technology for the PLA which is more reliant on Russian-made planes so far.