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Army aviation unit Russia-bound
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09:56, July 30, 2007

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URUMQI: A Chinese army aviation unit, consisting of 16 helicopters, flew to Russia yesterday for a joint anti-terrorism drill to be held by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

The helicopters took off from an airport based in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region at 9:54 am and would fly 2,700 km to get to the drill venue, Major General Ma Xiangsheng, one of the top Chinese officers in charge of the drill, said.

"The flight will be a good test for China's army aviation troops due to its long distance, complicated topographic and climatic conditions on the way as well as possible language barriers with the ground service in Russia," Ma said.

"The formation will fly over Altay Mountains with an altitude over 4,000 meters when it crosses the Sino-Russian border, which demands full technical preparations."

China will send to Russia a total of 16 Mi-17 transportation helicopters and 16 Z-9 armed helicopters, Ma said.

Source: China Daily/Xinhua

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