China to set up Antarctic air squadron

Beijing, Feb 13 (IANS) China will set up an Antarctic air squadron this year to support its scientific expeditions to the polar region, the media reported on Saturday.

According to the State Oceanic Administration, it is aimed at supporting polar exploration and will serve as an air observation platform, the China Daily reported.

China will continue to develop technologies and equipment to improve research on remote sensing and oceanography, the administration said.

Research vessel and icebreaker Xuelong, which is being used for China’s 32nd Antarctic expedition, left Shanghai on November 7, 2015, for a 159-day round trip of 55,500 km.

A 277-strong team from more than 80 domestic institutions are conducting research and experiments in Antarctica.

During the mission, researchers are making a final survey for China’s fifth Antarctic station site at Victoria Land on the Ross Sea, mapping the site and assessing the ecological and environmental impacts.

A deep-sea exploration station is also included in the administration’s equipment development plan.

The country will send its seventh research mission to the Arctic this year and is planning the first Sino-Russian Arctic mission, it added.

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