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Possible Naval AEW&C Bird for China

Here’s what might be further evidence of China’s quickly evolving efforts to field an aircraft carrier with a full on and modern air wing; grainy pictures of what’s possibly a Chinese E-2 Hawkeye style airborne early warning bird.

Maybe they won’t be able to operate off China’s Shi Lang carrier, which uses a ski-ramp rather than catapults to launch jets but it could still support and protect the carrier and its battle group in the same way as the U.S. E-2s currently do.

It’s one more sign that China is getting serious about fielding a real carrier strike group in the near future not just testing out how to fly a few fighters off a flat top.

Images via China Defense Blog.

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{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

Black Owl May 11, 2011 at 4:48 pm

Please, dear God, don't tell me they copied and E-2 Hawkeye.

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Matrix_3692 May 12, 2011 at 6:07 am

well, there's a saying: "there is only one best solution for the problem", they just happen to "found" the best solution. (or as someone once said?)

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Bob May 13, 2011 at 12:38 am

Well, we should do something to prepare for the next generation Aircraft Carrier…
After all, you know, the Varyag is just a 'casino'.

—-sent by a Chinese

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Patrick May 11, 2011 at 5:42 pm

Don't they have one of birds that "invaded" their airspace?

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Gregory Savage May 11, 2011 at 7:18 pm

It was a p-3.

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Lancer May 11, 2011 at 7:28 pm

I believe that was an EP-3 (if you are talking about the one that landed on Hainan Island back in…. 2001?

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Bob May 13, 2011 at 12:42 am

This is much different from an EP-3…

its a copycat of E-2…

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Josh May 12, 2011 at 8:36 am

We got that back… They took a Russian Tupolev and a special cradle over, chopped the Orion's wings off, rolled the fuselage up into the cargo plane along with the rest of the garbage and brought it all back.

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TROJANII May 12, 2011 at 2:35 pm

Yeah, eventually.

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dennisbuller May 11, 2011 at 7:24 pm

The funny part of all of this is they are spending money faster and faster.
They say they are going "back" to the moon.
They are so full throttle to do everything we have done for a point of pride, they are quickly going to have to start raising taxes.
Their high speed rail project cost them billions and and it is loosing billions every year.
In a few years they will have lots of toys and the taxes to go with it.
Which will mean they will be powerful, but will not have the manufacturing advantages they do now…..
If workers keep throwing themselves off buildings they may even have to allow unions…..

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Chimp May 12, 2011 at 2:48 am

There is something to that. However, you've missed the big ticket items. Military stuff, the rail network and space exploration are sideline issues. As a percentage of GDP, they don't spend much on defence (probably no more than any of the second line militaries such as the UK or the frogs).

The real killer is healthcare. Chinese healthcare is of really variable quality, and not widely affordable. Reforming public healthcare is a massive project. It really could come close to destabilizing government finances, in my opinion.

Even trickier to untangle is the education system. There is a reason China's best and brightest like to study in the USA. There aren't enough places at the best universities, and the best universities aren't good enough. The secondary system is dire in most places. People living in rural areas have what they laughingly term "schools", and that I call "fireworks factories".

Dunno if the high speed rail system is losing "billions per year" per se. It's not really very extensive yet, for one thing. For another, I would say that the biggest drain on rail is corruption, rather than construction or operating expenses. Possibly fixable, anyway. If you shoot enough people in the back of the neck, the others will keep their sticky fingers out of the cash drawer.

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anon May 12, 2011 at 3:02 pm

Healthcare will kill any country that tries to address the problem. As a global species, we do a lot of terrible things to neglect our health: and we also live longer, inviting a potential money sink.

Cynically, one day healthcare costs will be so expensive that they inhibit countries' ability to wage war: producing peace through staggering social welfare costs.

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dennisbuller May 15, 2011 at 11:28 am

Your overlooking one basic problem in that theory.
When a civilizations runs out of money because they are paying everyone off or just spending foolishly (or a combination of both), it is easier to take someone else's stuff.
Where the US runs into countries, tries to democratize them and then builds infrastructure; most wars end with the victor robbing the loser blind. Then milking them for materials and taxes while stopping them from building any infrastructure that does not accommodate that goal.
I call this the "Roman Model" for war. The did it very well….
A couple examples. After WW2 the Soviets took everything out of Eastern Germany. From the power generators up. The idea was to transfer their wealth to the Soviets and retard their ability to build an economy.
Another good one is I read all the train lines in India while the British were running it ran to the coast, but did not connect the cities. This allowed for exporting of base materials and the importing of British manufacturing goods, But kept the nation segmented so they could not use the lines in a rebellion or to build their own independent economy.
Plus lets face it. Republics do not wage war for economic reasons. They have to be driven by ideology.
So we are back to the usual suspects when it comes to war. Despots who do not care about their people and are only interested in acquiring more power. They do not spend a whole lot of money on health care. Unless it is for the elite….
Saddam Hussein was a perfect example of this.
So a republic spending a lot of money on health care may slow down its "foreign adventures" .
In a despotic state, spending a lot of money on health care may actually make war more probable…..
The question is of course is: What is China?
Not a true Despotism (I believe the elite do care about their people) but not a republic.
They are treading the fine line between an authoritarian regime that keeps people in line enough to allow the country to grow (the "Asian Tiger" model) and to set up the social requirements for a manufacturing/business based society (as opposed to a tribal or family based model) and a republic which has great freedom and people can influence their representatives.
The question we all have about China comes down to this; is it expansionistic? Do they have enough pressure from their people to focus inward on making their society better than looking outward?
Sorry, bit of a ramble.
But these questions are the main reason why China is such a focus of this site and why I read these articles…..

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dennisbuller May 15, 2011 at 11:01 am

I agree with you across the board. About 50% of our federal budget goes to Medicaid and Medicare.
But at some point, due to pride, they will start dumping money into health care and education.
I agree corruption is a huge issue for them. Here is a great link about their high speed rail and corruption:

http://hotair.com/archives/2011/04/23/about-china…

Not exactly Amtrak, but close. Where they will put a bullet into this guy, Amtrak will keep getting Federal funds year after year……

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TROJANII May 12, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Have you seen the cities that China has built that are empty.

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Lancer May 11, 2011 at 7:28 pm

I believe that was an EP-3 (if you are talking about the one that landed on Hainan Island back in…. 2001?

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OMEGATALON May 11, 2011 at 8:55 pm

This is what happens when you have one of the biggest economies in the world and have the financial resources to develop any type of technology that you might desire, just like their J-20 stealth fighter.

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William C. May 11, 2011 at 10:24 pm

It will be laughable watching people claim the airframe isn't a copy of the E-2 Hawkeye. Just look at the tail configuration.

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IFB May 11, 2011 at 10:40 pm

I am surprised they bothered to make such a precise copy of a platform that is already showing its age.

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Justin May 11, 2011 at 10:55 pm

Can you name one aircraft or system which comes close to offering what the E-2D offers?? I don't see any replacement on the horizon. Which is why everyone from France to India seem interested in it.

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IFB May 11, 2011 at 11:19 pm

No, I can't because there currently isn't any. But the airframe design is around 50 years old and many modern AEW aircraft seem to favor fixed, phased array radars (Wedgetail, Eitam CAEW, Saab Erieye etc.).

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Justin May 11, 2011 at 11:31 pm

The airframe is hardly an issue with upgrades to materials and engines; besides its range/efficiency will always be limited by virtue of being launched off a carrier.

The E-2D has both electronic and mechanical scanning capabilities. About favouring fixed AESA systems, well are any of those systems available in 'miniaturised' form for carrier operations? The radar is not the issue here rather the constraints placed on existing technology. The only "alternatives" available are AEW versions of the Anglo-Italian EH-101 and Russian KA-31s. And we all know how they compare.
http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2010/07/20/3…

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Zap May 11, 2011 at 10:59 pm

maybe its a Yak-44

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oppervlakkig May 12, 2011 at 2:25 am

Lol, China is behaving itself a bit like Japan in the novel Debt of Honor by Tom Clancy. Can't get the resemblance out of my head :P

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TLAM Strike May 12, 2011 at 11:09 pm

Listening to that on Audio Book right now. Up to the part where the John Clark and Ding head to Japan pretending to be ***** reporters.

I’ve been rediscovering Tom Clancy’s works and been enjoying them.

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TLAM Strike May 12, 2011 at 11:10 pm

Why is Eye Tass ***** out?

Oh and I just finished Patriot Games two weeks ago right when OBL got killed. Strange huh?

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Chops May 15, 2011 at 1:13 am

My favorite has always been Red Storm Rising by Clancy.

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Curt May 12, 2011 at 2:50 am

Did anyone bother to think that it just might be a Taiwanese E-2C? Just a thought. Its not like you can see any other aircraft in the picture.

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TROJANII May 12, 2011 at 2:50 pm

I think the article is about a Chinese AEWC (and would therefore assume the photo is from China), and I don't think Taiwan and China are on very friendly terms for a Taiwanese E-2 to be visiting China.

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Chimp May 13, 2011 at 4:08 am

It would be a one way trip…

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Musson May 12, 2011 at 9:22 am

Hell. I could build an airframe that looked like a Hawkeye in my back yard. Anybody can build an airframe. It's what goes inside that counts.

I can put my boots in the over… but that don't make 'em biscuits.

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Musson May 12, 2011 at 9:23 am

correction: I can put my boots in the oven… but that don't make 'em biscuits.

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Lance May 12, 2011 at 3:26 pm

Ohh boy they got a light radar aircraft. This supplements the A-50 mainstays they bought from Russia. Come on now doomsday talk about this DT Blog worry about other stuff than a loser like China.

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Sinophil May 13, 2011 at 7:44 am

Predictable complacency from the rocking chairs on the porches. Yes, they're still a long way behind but the gap is gradually closing. China has plenty of serious flaws as a military-industrial complex but right now they're just working so much harder than the US.

Wake up, your boots are done.

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Rajarata May 13, 2011 at 8:54 pm

This folks is a Shaanxi Y - 8 (AN 12 CUB) modified for AWACS. See AirForces Monthly last month for a clear photo ! Its Heavily modified !

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John Corrnor June 12, 2011 at 2:13 am

This bird is based on Y-7 turboprop airliner. It made its maiden flight in late 2010.

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