The first medium-to-long-range maritime-surveillance plane under the Chinese State Oceanic Administration has started operation at the South China Sea Branch of the government department.
The B-5002 plane, whose wingspan is about 30 meters, is the biggest and fastest maritime-monitoring plane in China. It also holds the record for the longest distance in flight among all Chinese maritime-monitoring planes, which theoretically could cover the whole South China Sea, China Ocean News reported Tuesday.
According to the report, the plane will perform monitoring tasks in a variety of areas including maritime environment protection, sea island exploitation and maritime rights maintenance as well as maritime research and rescue.
The aircraft's operation will effectively enlarge the scope of China's maritime and aviation law enforcement, promoting law enforcement in the South China Sea to a higher standard, the report said.
The plane is manufactured by the AVIC Xi'an Aircraft Industry (Group) Company LTD, modeled after the China-made Xinzhou-60 plane. It is equipped with some advanced hardware and software with a total value of nearly 100 million yuan (.6 million). It went into service on Monday.