The Chinese military completed their first heavy equipment airdrop from Y-20 heavy transport plane during a real combat training exercise in the plateau area, close to its border with India.
During this live-fire training, the Y-20 aircraft, having maximum take-off weight of 200-tons, continuously airdropped multiple pieces of heavy equipment including 107mm multi-barrel rocket launchers (MBRLs), Type-03 crawler-type paratrooper vehicles and armored vehicles. As the equipment landed on the ground, hundreds of paratroopers jumped off the aircraft, China Military, the official website of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) reported today.
The MBRL is characterized by lightweight and strong firepower, has a maximum range of about 8km and is one of the major supporting weapons for rapid response forces such as airborne troops, the PLA claimed.
PLA Air Force expert Fu Qianshao said, "To accurately deliver materials and equipment to a destination from an altitude of hundreds of meters or even higher, the aircraft and the personnel involved must be fully equipped and highly skilled. Airdrop is a highly sophisticated technical system of an intensive quantity of technologies, including loading and unloading systems onboard, parachute systems, buffer systems, etc., as well as the airdrop equipment itself."
The Chinese move comes at a time when tensions with India have spiked sharply. In the evening of September 7, Indian and Chinese troops exchanged fire near Pangong Tso Lake on the western section of the China-India border amidst accusations of border transgression from both sides.