China’s New Freight Plane Extends Military Modernization Program

China successfully tested a locally- built freight plane, two months after the debut of its fighter jet, boosting the nation’s efforts to use homegrown technology to expand defense capacity.

The Yun-20, which had its maiden flight yesterday, can take a maximum load of 66 tons and is suited for long-distance transportation, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. The plane will aid the armed forces and will help deliver disaster relief and humanitarian aid, according to the report.

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 J-15 jet was developed and built by AVIC Shenyang Aircraft Corp., a unit of China’s largest aerospace company, Aviation Industry Corp of China. It can carry multi-type anti- ship, air-to-air, air-to-ground missiles and precision-guided bombs.

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.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Wenxin Fan in Shanghai at wfan19@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Tighe at ptighe@bloomberg.net

Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.