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New aircraft to improve capability in the Antarctic

(Xinhua)

12:59, September 27, 2011

China will purchase its first fixed-wing aircraft for use in Antarctic research expeditions to facilitate aviation support, said a research leader on Sunday.

Aircraft are commonly deployed during Antarctic research expeditions by other countries and their use demonstrates a country's expedition strength in the region, said Sun Bo, a scholar with the Polar Research Institute of China.

Sun made the remarks at the annual seminar on China's polar region expedition and research in Shanghai.

The Basler BT-67, a fixed-wing aircraft produced in the US, is likely to be the choice for China's Antarctic expeditions, Sun said. The model has already gained a strong reputation for its multi-functionality of transport, emergency rescue and scientific research.

With the aircraft, China will upgrade its capabilities in scientific research and emergency security in Antarctic expeditions. China is now actively mapping an aviation network, including both aircraft and supporting infrastructure in the South Pole region, he added.

China has launched 27 expeditions to the Antarctic since 1984. It plans to launch five more by 2015, with the 28th Antarctic research expedition in early November, said an official with the Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration on Sunday.

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