Electronic Weapons: Chinese AWACS in the Air


November27, 2006: The Chinese Air Force has been training with its four new IL 76 AWACS (A-50s from Russia, converted to Chinese KJ2000 systems) and smaller KJ200 (carried in the four prop engine Chinese made Y8 aircaft) AWACS. This has been going on for several months at an airbase in eastern China (Jiangsu province.) One of the two KJ200 aircraft crashed last June, during its final test flight.

The KJ2000 was expected to enter service next year. China has had to develop its own phased array radar for it, after being prevented, by the United States, from buying the Israeli Phalcon airborne radar six years ago. The KJ2000 carries a flight crew of five and a mission (AWACS) crew of about a dozen. The aircraft can stay airborne for about seven hours per sortie. The KJ2000 radar has a range of about 300 kilometers, and the computer systems are supposed to be able to handle 5-10 fighters at a time, and keep track of several dozen enemy targets.


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