Combat ready: Chinese air force puts new Y-9 transport planes through paces in South China Sea drill

The People’s Liberation Army Air Force announced on its social media account on Saturday that a fleet of the aircraft from the Western Theatre Command flew thousands of kilometres to simulate an airdrop over an island in the contested waters before returning the same day.
The exercise was conducted in mock combat conditions and without weather data or guidance from a command centre, the statement said.
Military observers said the exercise was an attempt to show the PLA’s ability to fend off attacks from the sea and to mobilise different theatre commands in a crisis.
The Y-9 medium-lift transport aircraft can carry up to 25 tonnes of cargo and has a range of around 7,800km.