China Becomes Second Country to Develop Carrier-Based AEW&C Aircraft; KJ-600

China Becomes Second Country to Develop Carrier-Based AEW&C Aircraft; KJ-600
China Becomes Second Country to Develop Carrier-Based AEW&C Aircraft; KJ-600

Chinese media has recently published a photo of an aircraft. The blurred picture belongs to Xian KJ-600 AEW&C early warning and control aircraft. The KJ-600 is known for being specifically designed to fill the newly launched Chinese Navy (PLAN) Type 003 indigenous aircraft carrier. Currently, on Type 001 and Type 002 carriers (Liaoning and Shandong), the early warning aircraft role is performed by the Changhe Z-18J AEW helicopter.


The KJ-600 is equipped with an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar that allows it to spot stealth aircraft such as the US F-22 and F-35 and the Russian Su-57. This radar can also detect marine targets and provide their coordinates in three dimensions. It is estimated that the KJ-600 has a crew of 5-6 people, including the pilot, co-pilot and aircrew who operate the radar and combat control systems. The KJ-600 has a very compact design for its dimensions, so it doesn't take up much space on the carrier deck. The main wing can also be folded like the Northrop Grumman E-2 Hawkeye of the US Navy.

China Becomes Second Country to Develop Carrier-Based AEW&C Aircraft; KJ-600

Suppose the development of the KJ-600 goes well. In that case, it is planned that the aircraft will start operating from the Chinese Navy's Type 003 aircraft carrier around 2024.


China Becomes Second Country to Develop Carrier-Based AEW&C Aircraft; KJ-600

This development makes China the second country after the United States to independently develop an aircraft carrier-based AEW&C aircraft. The PLAN will be the third user of aircraft carrier-based AEW&C aircraft after Hawkeye and E-2D Advanced Hawkeye at US carriers and E-2C Hawkeye operating from the carrier Charles de Gaulle.