The announcement comes after blurry photos leaked onto aviation forums on Christmas Eve. The photos were taken at Xian Aircraft Corporation’s airfield. As Danger Room pointed out earlier, the photos show an aircraft that looks a heck of a lot like the U.S. Air Force's C-17.
The aircraft features four jet engines and looks to be the same size as the C-17 albeit the blurry photos make it tough to discern too many details. Following questions about the plane the Chinese issued this statement:
"To meet the needs of the national economy and social development, and in the service of military modernization, better disaster relief, humanitarian relief and other emergency tasks, our country is developing a large transport aircraft,” the statement read.
Designated the Y-20, the photos, it has been suspected for years that the Chinese have been working on developing an aircraft similar to the C-17. In order for their military to continue to grow into a global power, it needs a transport workhorse similar to the U.S. Air Force's C-17.
It appears from the photos, the Chinese are well on their way.