KongJing-200 Airborne Early Warning & Control Aircraft
The KongJing-20 (KJ-200) is an airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft developed by the Shaanxi Aircraft Corporation as part of its “GaoXin” series special-purpose aircraft based on the Yun-8 airframe. The KJ-200 was also known as “GaoXin 5” within the project. The KJ-200 features a a linear-shape active electronically steered array (AESA) radar similar to the Swedish Ericsson PS-890 Erieye. At least three examples are currently in service with the PLAAF.
The KJ-200 development is believed to have begun in the late 1990s. In October 2004, a Y-8F200 prototype that first flew in November 2001 was spotted undergoing refit to be added with a linear-shape ESA-type airborne early warning radar at the test site of Shaanxi. A second prototype based on a Y-8F600 airframe was identified in 2005. Nanjing-based 14th Electronic Institute was responsible for the development of the ESA radar and other avionics systems.
Chinese state-run Xinhua News Agency reported on Sunday 4 June 2006 that a military plane carrying 40 people was lost in the eastern province of Anhui and no survivor was found. The accident happened at about 16:00 Beijing Time (08:00 GMT) on Saturday near the village of Yaocun, in Guangde county. The plane's body hit bamboo forest and its tail fell in fields. Chinese president Hu Jintao has expressed deep condolences over the loss of lives and ordered a full investigation into the cause of the accident.
Although the report did not reveal the detailed model of the plane or the identities of the people onboard, it was later revealed that the plane was in fact the only example of the Y-8F600-based KJ-200 AEW&C aircraft. The aircraft was undergoing system testing when the accident took place. The 40 people onboard the aircraft were from the PLAAF and 14th Electronic Institute. The accident caused a major setback in the KJ-200/”Gaoxin 5” project due to the lost of an important prototype and many key personnel.
The KJ-200 AEW&C aircraft is based on the Y-8F600 airframe, which is internally known as “Category-III Platform” in Shaanxi. (The Category-I and -II platforms refer to the non-pressurised basic variant Y-8 and pressurised Y-8C respectively) The aircraft is fitted with Western avionics for improved performance. The development of the airframe has been carried out jointly by Shaanxi Aircraft Industry (Group) Co. and the Antonov Design Bureau of Ukraine. Improvements on Y-8F600 include:
- A two-man cockpit fitted with modernised avionics including U.S. Honeywell navigation system
- Removal of the ‘glass-in’ nose to provide additional space for mission equipment
- Four Pratt and Whitney Canada PW150B turboprop engines with British Dodi R-408 six-blade propellers
- Increased take-off weight and range
- Mission equipment pods on wingtips, vertical fin tip and nose
Last update: 29 May 2010