J-10 fighter jets make one-stop direct return flight from Saudi Arabia with YU-20, sending Lunar New Year greetings
Published: Feb 11, 2024 08:08 PM
After delivering flight performances at the World Defence Show in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, seven J-10 fighter jets of the August 1st Aerobatics Team of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force flew directly back to China, accompanied and supported by the YU-20 aerial tanker, landing at an airport in western China on Saturday. 

On their return journey, the J-10 fighter jets trailed colored smoke as they flew in formation above snow-capped mountains, sending Lunar New Year's greetings to people in China. Chinese military expert Zhang Xuefeng said in an interview with the Global Times on Sunday that the August 1st Aerobatics Team sent Lunar New Year's greetings to the motherland with a unique form, adding to the festive atmosphere of China's celebration of the Lunar New Year.

The return journey covered a distance of nearly 4,000 kilometers before entering Chinese airspace. The air force successfully performed a complex mid-air refueling for the J-10 fighter jets, which has reduced their reliance on airports in the ground.

Zhang said such a one-stop direct flight is of key practical significance. The PLA Air Force publicly announced that the August 1st Aerobatics Team made a direct flight to and from Saudi Arabia, suggesting the PLA Air Force has realized the normalization of long-distance flights and aerial refueling as part of daily training.