Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) has tested two new aircraft- the KJ-500 early warning aircraft and the L-15 advanced training and light combat jet, even as the Chinese defence industry grapples with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
“Chinese arms enterprises have been racing to keep up with their production schedule after resuming work following an extended Spring Festival holiday due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. A key amphibious assault ship maker has been scrambling to outfit an "important" ship and aviation companies (are) running test flights for newly built warplanes,” state owned Global Times reported.
Shaanxi Aircraft Industry under AVIC successfully conducted a test flight for a newly built KJ-500 early warning aircraft on February 10, a week later than the original plan according to a website run by AVIC.
Hongdu Aviation Industry Group, another subsidiary of AVIC, conducted a test flight for a new L-15 advanced training and light combat jet on Monday, according to a statement on the company’s WeChat account.
The KJ-500 AEW&C (Airborne Early Warning and Control) aircraft is capable of tracking nearly 100 targets simultaneously thanks to its phased-array radar developed by the Nanjing Research Institute of Electronic Technology.
The KJ-500 was said to have entered service in 2016-2017 but the news of its continued testing comes as a surprise.
The Hongdu L-15 is a twin engine, modern jet trainer or light attack aircraft designed and manufactured by Hongdu Aviation Industry Group (HAIG) of China. About five prototypes have been built by HAIG. The aircraft resembles the Yak-130 of Russia. A potential foreign customer for the L-15 is said to be Pakistan.