Venezuelan Maj. Gen. Jorge Oropeza is quoted as saying that his country is in negotiations with China to buy 10-12 Shaanxi Y-8 tactical transport aircraft, and hopes they will be delivered before the end of 2011. Derived from the Russian AN-12, China’s Yun-8 is in the same class as the C-130 Hercules, with about 20 tons of cargo capacity, a number of variants including AWACS and maritime patrol, and theater-class range. The general had an interesting way of describing said range, mentioning that: “These Y-8s will provide support for the operations of our C-130 Hercules transport planes…that have a range covering South America and to the north of Spain.” Latin American Herald Tribune.
Spain, eh? On Valentine’s Day 2006, “Love on the Rocks: CASA’s $600M Venezuelan Plane Sale In Heavy Turbulence,” discussed the blockage of a EUR 500 million aircraft sale from Spain to Venezuela, using the USA’s ITAR regulations on military technology transfer. Despite the protests of the Spanish government, which claimed that the 10 EADS-CASA C-295M light transports, and 2 CN-235 MPA Persuader advanced maritime patrol aircraft, were not potential offensive weapons, the US held firm. The modifications required to replace those technologies were too costly, and EADS had too much to lose in the U.S. market, so the order died. Enter China, which recently delivered 18 of its K-8 Karakorum trainer & light attack jets to the Venezuelan government.