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Chinese Il-76 derivative crashes on surveillance mission

A Chinese surveillance aircraft believed to be derived from the Ilyushin Il-76 crashed in China on 3 June, killing all 40 people on board. Beijing officially identified the aircraft only as an unknown military transport, but Chinese newspapers report it is an airborne early warning aircraft called the KJ-2000, which has been developed locally over the past few years using the Il-76 airframe.

The aircraft was on a surveillance or testing mission when it crashed in a rural area in eastern China, killing 35 mission crew members and five cockpit crew members.

It is believed that there are at least two other KJ-2000 proto­types in existence, equipped with radar and sensors developed by a research institute based in Nanjing.

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