China’s KJ-600 carrier-based early warning aircraft cannot operate from current PLA Navy aircraft carriers such as the Liaoning and Shandong.
The early warning aircraft, compared to the U.S. made E-2 Hawkeye, recently conducted another “successful flight test,” Chinese state media revealed on Sunday.
Chinese military experts said they expect the plane to operate on large aircraft carriers equipped with catapults. While the Liaoning and Shandong are equipped with ski-jumps take off and assisted landing, a new upcoming carrier is expected to be equipped with an electromagnetic catapult launch system for both fighter jets and fixed wing aircraft.
The KJ-600 carrier-based early warning aircraft made a successful test flight in Xi'an, capital of Northwest China's Shaanxi Province, on January 27, the China Central Television (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, a military expert, 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.