China’s First Carrier-Based Early Warning Plane Continues Flight Tests, Report Says

China’s first domestically developed fixed-wing early warning aircraft capable of taking off and landing on aircraft carriers recently conducted another successful flight test, state media revealed for the first time on Sunday, and Chinese military experts said they expect the plane to operate on large aircraft carriers equipped with catapults.

The KJ-600 carrier-based early warning aircraft made a successful test flight in Xi’an, capital of Northwest China’s Shaanxi Province, on 27 January, the China Central Television (CCTV) reported.

Local residents on the ground were able to take pictures of the KJ-600 during its flight, CCTV reported.

When asked by a CCTV anchor if the KJ-600 can operate on China’s current aircraft carriers, the Liaoning and the Shandong, Song denied the possibility, saying that the two carriers use ski-jump ramps to assist takeoffs by aircraft, but this requires very powerful engines to provide enough thrust, and the KJ-600 has not been equipped with these engines.

Even the US’ E-2 Hawkeye can only operate on large aircraft carriers that use catapults to assist takeoffs, because the flight deck of a carrier is too short for such aircraft to take off with only the assistance of a ski-jump ramp, Song explained.

This means the KJ-600 is designed to also operate on a large aircraft carrier equipped with catapults, Song predicted.

Chinese and foreign media have speculated for years that China’s third aircraft carrier, which is under construction in…

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