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Chinese AWACS

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posted on Feb, 4 2005 @ 12:31 AM
At least one Chinese indigenous airborne warning and control system (AWACS) aircraft (KJ-2000?) was spotted undergoing tests in Nanjing in 2003. The aircraft, which is based on a Russian-made A-50 airframe, carries a phased array radar (PAR) system designed and developed by Nanjing Research Institute of Electronic Technology (also known as 14th Institute). The existence of such a project represents China’s latest effort to acquire airborne early earning capability, which it has been actively seeking for over a decade.


By 1992, China had begun talks with Russia about purchasing the Beriev A-50 (NATO codename: Mainstay) plane, the AWACS variant of the Ilyushin IL-76 military transport aircraft. Later, talks involved acquisition of an Israeli radar system. Three-way negotiations that began in 1994 considered four AEW aircraft for $1 billion. In 1996 China, Russia, and Israel reached initial agreement on a $250 million deal to supply one AEW aircraft to the PLAAF by installing an Israeli Aircraft Industries (IAI) Phalcon phased-array radar with 360 degree coverage on a A-50 plane.

In May 1997, Israel and Russia reached agreement on modifying one IL-76, as a Beriev A-50I, for $250 million, with the option of three more AWACS for a total cost of $1 billion. Russia secured about 20 percent of the deal. After some delay, in October 1999, Russia transferred an A-50 airframe to Israel for the installation of the Phalcon AEW radar system by IAI. By May 2000, Israel had nearly completed work on the aircraft.

The Phalcon deal became an increasingly controversial issue between the United States and Israel. In 2000, the Clinton Administration voiced stronger objections to the sale and urged Israel to cancel the sale of the Phalcon, saying it is a system comparable to the U.S. AWACS and could collect intelligence and guide aircraft from 250 miles away. Finally, in July 2000 the Israeli government cancelled the deal with China.

Following the humiliation of the cancelled A-50I/Phalcon deal, China turned to indigenous solutions. The Phalcon radar and other electronic systems were taken off from the unfinished A-50I, and the airframe was handed to China via Russia in 2002. Modifications on the A-50I airframe began in late 2002 to install the Chinese-made airborne radar system at Xi’an Aircraft Industry Co. (XAC). The aircraft made its first flight in November 2003, and was reportedly rename as Kongjing-2000 (KJ-2000).

Unconfirmed reports claimed that so far two KJ-2000s (one based on A-50I, one converted from a PLAAF/CUA IL-76) have been delivered to the PLAAF for operational evaluation and tests. A total of four aircraft may eventually be built, either on new A-50s purchased from Russia, or directly converted locally from the existing IL-76s in service with the PLAAF.


The detailed information regarding the new Chinese AWACS is unknown. However, it is estimated that the aircraft is comparable to the Russian A-50 in general flight performance.

The Chinese AWACS is based on the airframe of the Russian A-50 AWACS aircraft, which was developed and manufactured by the Beriev Aircraft Research and Engineering Complex Joint Stock Company based at Taganrog in the Rostov Region of Russia. The A-50’s airframe was developed from the llyushin IL-76MD military transport aircraft manufactured by the Ilyushin Aviation Complex Joint Stock Company based in Moscow. The most distinctive difference on the A-50 airframe is the removal of the 'glass-in' nose of the IL-76MD.

The A-50 carries out patrol missions at an altitude of 5,000m to 10,000m. The patrol service ceiling is 10,000m. The maximum flight range of the aircraft is 5,000km and the flight endurance is 7 hours 40 minutes. At a range of 2,000m, the A-50 can remain on patrol for up to 1 hour 25 minutes. The Chinese A-50 airframe also has a fixed in-flight refuelling probe, which could be refuelled by the IL-78 Midas tanker. This will significantly increase the range and flight endurance of the aircraft.


The Chinese AWACS has a unique phased array radar (PAR) carried in a round radome. Unlike the U.S. AWACS aircraft, which rotate their rotodomes to give a 360 degree coverage, the radar antenna of the Chinese AWACS does not rotate. Instead, three PAR antenna modules are placed in a triangular configuration inside the round radome to provide a 360 degree coverage.

The Chinese-made airborne earning warning radar system could be similar in capability to the IAI Phalcon, but may not be as capable as the latter. The Phalcon system could track up to 60~100 targets at the same time and guide a dozen fighters in all-weather, day and night operations.

The photos of the KJ-2000 indicate that the aircraft has an aerial refuelling probe in its nose. If the aircraft can be refuelled by the Russian-made IL-78 Midas tanker, its flight endurance and effectiveness could be further increased.

posted on Feb, 4 2005 @ 12:33 AM

posted on Feb, 4 2005 @ 12:41 AM
NEW DELHI: Six months after India signed the $1.1 billion (Rs 5,000 crore) deal for three Israeli Phalcon early warning radar and communication systems, the government on Thursday also gave the green signal for the revival of the project to develop an indigenous Awacs (airborne warning and control systems).

The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) has set a timeframe of seven years for the development of the Awacs which will be less sophisticated and smaller than the Phalcons at a cost of Rs 1,800 crore.

"Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and IAF will jointly cooperate in the development of the system," defence minister Pranab Mukherjee said after the CCS meeting. Sources said India will seek Israel's cooperation in fine-tuning the project. Under the agreement signed with Israel in March, all the three Phalcon Awacs, integrated with Russian IL-76 heavy transport aircraft, are to be supplied to India before 2006. "

posted on Feb, 4 2005 @ 12:48 AM
India also has thirteen Kamov K-31 AWACS helicopters .

With their "Oko" radar, K-31 helicopters are capable of detecting upto 200 aerial targets at a time with simultaneous tracking of 20 of them at the range of 110-115 kilometres and surface ships at the range of 200 kilometres.

In addition to this India will be getting their fully upgraded 6 Israeli Phalcon AWACS's by 2006. Unlike in China's case the USA gave a go ahead signal to Israel for the sale of AWACS to india in 2001 ( because the Phalcon AWACS is a joint venture between Isreal and USA).

Pic of india's indegenous, old AWACS called ASP

The Indian Airborne Surveillance Platform (ASP) is one of the key force multipliers in the modern war scenario. India's Defense Research and Development Organization [DRDO] is developing an advanced surveillance platform based on an HS-748 aircraft to detect targets at extended ranges with all round azimuth coverage. It is designed to handle 50 targets. It features a hybrid navigation system and the secure communication and data links. The DRDO has spent a little over Rs 200 crore to develop this early warning system, similar to the American E-2C Hawkeye. But, o get the capabilities of even the E-2C, India would have to spend at least Rs 2,000 crore. Three HS-748 Avros have been fitted with rotodomes.

The development of the ASP would permitted fuller utilisation of the high performance MiG-29, Mirage-2000 and SU-30 planes in the IAF. The utility of ASP also lies in its ability to act as an airborne command and control center, overcoming the limitation of directing air operations from the ground.

Studies and analyses began in July 1985 under project'Guardian', later renamed 'Airawat'. By the late 1980s an Avro had been modified with a 24 ft x 5 ft composite rotodome. The aircraft flew with a pylon (without the dome) in May 1989 and with the rotodome in November 1990. The Centre for Airborne Systems (CABS) was set up in February 1991, under Dr K. Ramchand to act as a system house and integration agency using all the expertise and infrastructure available in India. The project received public recognition when the aircraft was flown during the flight demonstrations at the inauguration ceremony of the first Aero India show held in Bangalore in December 1996. The Defence Research & Development Organisation, Ministry of Defence, provided the airborne surveillance platform to the Navy in August 1998. The program achieved success in most aspects, including airborne radar analysis, clutter (ground reflections) characterisation and measurement and developing a hybrid navigation system. The main challenge left was evolving the radar and support mission system avionics into a flying surveillance platform.

The antenna used in the rotodome of ASP is a low side lobe slotted wave guide planar array. The antenna features very low side lobe levels and a narrow beam width in azimuth. It handles high power (better than 3.3 KW average) and weighs 160 kg. For housing the primary and the secondary (IFF) antennas, an ellipsoidal structure (7.315 m x 1.524 m) rotodome has been indigenously fabricated. It largely comprises composites and aluminium alloy parts. The indigenous rotodome has since been successfully fabricated and flight tested on the ASP system. The rotodome is driven by a hydraulic servo system using aircraft hydraulic power.

The airborne radar data processor (ARDP), supporting track-while-scan, is required to form target tracks after receiving data from the various sensors of ASP, such as the primary radar (PR) and the secondary surveillance radar (SSR), which operate in TWS mode. The ARDP correlates the target plots from scan to scan to maintain the target tracks. It also performs the correlation of target information obtained from SSR and endorsement with the PR track information.

The ASP is guided by a high accuracy navigation system, which consists of an inertial navigation system (INS) and a Doppler navigation system. The velocity drifts of INS are contained by Doppler velocities using a Kalman filter, resulting in good navigation accuracy required for long duration flight of ASP. Work is in hand to integrate GPS receiver with INS to enhance performance, reliability and robustness.

[edit on 4-2-2005 by Stealth Spy]

posted on Feb, 4 2005 @ 12:57 AM
The Israeli Phalcon is one of the worst looking AWACS's around

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