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PLA Airborne Corps receive new Y-12 transport aircraft

The People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) 15th Airborne Corps is receiving new Harbin Aviation Industries Group (HAIG) Y-12 twin-turboprop light transport aircraft.

State-owned China Central Television (CCTV) reported on 27 February that PLAAF pilots had recently performed initial flight training activities on the new aircraft, which took place both above the mainland and islands.

According to CCTV, the new Y-12 aircraft feature enhanced performance capabilities, including more powerful engines, a new cockpit environment, and better handling abilities.

According to Janes World Air Forces, the PLAAF currently operates a fleet of 12 Y-12II aircraft (known as Y-12D) that entered service between 2015 and 2016. These replace the legacy China Aviation Industry Group (CAIG) Y-5 aircraft in both transport and parachute training role, and could also be used for special forces operations.

It is unclear what variant the PLAAF airborne troops have recently received, but Janes assesses that this could be the Y-12E Harbinger or a similar version. The Y-12E is powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-135A turboprop engines and features a strengthened structure, reduced noise levels, and improved avionics, according to Janes All the World Aircraft.

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