PLA Air Force shows flying hospital version of Y-9 transport plane | Security Risks Asia Made with Humane Club

PLA Air Force shows flying hospital version of Y-9 transport plane

Published Dec 17, 2018
Updated Jun 06, 2020

A Y-9 transport aircraft attached to the PLA Air Force taxies on the runway before takeoff during a training exercise in preparation for the International Army Games (IAG) on July 9, 2018. ( by Yang Pan)

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force recently introduced a new type of medical care aircraft in what seems to be a variant of the Y-9 medium-sized transport plane that can operate not only as an air ambulance but also a flying hospital.

The PLA Air Force recently conducted a medical transport drill using the new aircraft at an undetermined airport in Southwest China, China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Saturday.

Judging from the CCTV footage, the medical care aircraft is a variant of the Y-9 that can rapidly take off and land in the frontlines, Song Zhongping, a military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Sunday.

Capable of treating more than 30 soldiers and officers at the same time, the plane is loaded with basic medical and intensive care modules, carrying a wide array of equipment, including monitors, defibrillators and ultrasound equipment, CCTV reported.

The plane can serve not only as a fast air ambulance but also a mobile flying hospital with an ICU that can conduct complicated operations independently, Song said.

The original Y-9 aircraft, a medium-sized tactical transport plane with a maximum range of about 4,000 kilometers, went into service with the PLA Air Force in late 2016 and has been modified for various purposes, including as an early warning aircraft, surveillance aircraft and anti-submarine aircraft, according to a separate CCTV report in November.

The Y-9 conducted its first medical care transportation mission in March, when it successfully transferred a critically ill officer from Southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region to a hospital in Chengdu, Southwest China’s Sichuan Province, the Xinhua News Agency reported. The latest variation of Y-9 was not available then.