The People’s Liberation Army Air Force (“Chinese Air Force”; PLAAF) is to deploy a new AEW&C aircraft, the Shaanxi KJ-500. New photos have been published by Chinese media and are circulating on social media as well.
The new KJ-500 has a relatively small radome mounted on top of the aircraft, with a radar reportedly developed by Nanjing IET, and sensors on at least the starboard aft side of the plane.
The KJ-500 is based on the Shaanxi Y-9, basically a Chinese derivative of the Ukrainian designed Antonov AN-12, but with a stretched airframe. It complements the PLAAF’s AWACS fleet comprising of at least four KJ-2000s (based on the IL-76, radome) and KJ-200s (based on the AN-12, boom-antenna on the back).
Airheadsfly.com believes the PLAAF is expected to field at least four KJ-500s, but we’ve got no confirmation on that number.
© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: Photographer unknown. This image of the KJ-500 with a saucer shaped radome is circulating on Chinese websites.