PLA's all services acquire more helicopters of various functions

Updated: 2009-10-01 13:11

After fighter and bomber jets screaming overhead, 46 helicopters provided by the PLA's army aviation, naval aviation and air force airborne troops buzzed to skip the crowds.

Helicopters are gaining great attention from the PLA's all services for their unique and irreplaceable functions they have played in rescue and reconstruction operations since last year's devastating earthquake in Sichuan province.

Being short of heavy helicopters, the military rescue team found it difficult to transport tonnes of excavators, diggers and other machines into the mountainous regions of the quake-hit region.

An Mi-26 heavy-lift transport helicopter swiftly rented from a Russian company helped settle the stranded reconstruction project to dig out quake lakes.

The naval aviation's 10 rescue helicopters Z-8 in two arrow formations appeared again this year as they were displayed in the international fleet review in waters near Qingdao on April 23 to celebrate the 60th founding anniversary of the PLA's navy.

The following 18 reconnaissance gunships and another 18 attacking gunships modified from the PLA's Z-9 helicopter are from the army aviation, and the highly anticipated gunship Z-10 does not appear, which keep the new gunship's existence still a mystery.

China has started an ambitious project to design and manufacture the country's own trunkliner jet to break out dependence on the two aircraft giants, Boeing and Airbus.

China's biggest aircraft maker, Aviation Industry Corporation of China, also established a helicopter company in Tianjin this January to produce more helicopters and accessories for both the military and civilian uses.

Media reports said that Li Fangyong, president of the helicopter company, revealed the company would cooperate with Russian counterparts to jointly develop a heavy helicopter which will be more cost-effective than the Mi-26.

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