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Shaanxi KJ-500

Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C)

Shaanxi KJ-500

Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C)


The Shaanxi KJ-500 serves the modern Chinese Air Force in the Airborne Early Warning and Control role with over a dozen platforms currently available.
National Flag Graphic
YEAR: 2010
STATUS: Active, In-Service
MANUFACTURER(S): Shaanxi Aircraft Corporation - China

Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Shaanxi KJ-500 model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.
CREW: 24
LENGTH: 118.11 feet (36 meters)
WIDTH: 131.23 feet (40 meters)
HEIGHT: 37.73 feet (11.5 meters)
WEIGHT (EMPTY): 88,185 pounds (40,000 kilograms)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 154,324 pounds (70,000 kilograms)
ENGINE: 4 x Zhuzhou WoJiang-6C (FWJ-6C) turboprop engines developing 5,100 horsepower each and driving six-bladed propeller units.
SPEED (MAX): 342 miles-per-hour (550 kilometers-per-hour; 297 knots)
RANGE: 3,542 miles (5,700 kilometers; 3,078 nautical miles)
CEILING: 34,449 feet (10,500 meters; 6.52 miles)

None. Mission equipment consists of sensors and processing systems for search and tracking of enemy elements at range.

Series Model Variants
• KJ-500 - Base Series Designation.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Shaanxi KJ-500 Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C).  Entry last updated on 9/12/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©
The KJ-500 is a modification of the base Y-9 four-engined turboprop-powered transport (detailed elsewhere on this site) manufactured by the Shaanxi Aircraft Corporation of China for the Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) role. The type serves the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) as a short-to-medium-ranged "eye-in-the-sky" and is a further evolution of previous iterations of such aircraft types developed to undertake the same over-battlefield role - though bringing with it more advanced search, tracking and processing capabilities.

About seventeen platforms are currently available to the PLAAF (2018). The type was first publicly unveiled in September of 2015.

The Y-9 serves as the framework for the aircraft. This design itself is a relatively new product emerging from Chinese aero-industry and is rooted in the earlier Y-8X. Development on the type began in 2001 to produce a medium hauler for military service and advanced to become its own design as the 25-ton-capable Y-9 complete with 4 x Zhuzhou WoJiang 6C (FWJ-6C) turboprop engines of 5,100 horsepower each (two per wing) driving advanced six-bladed propeller units. Crewed by up to four personnel, this aircraft has the inherent capability to haul up to 106 passengers, 132 airborne troopers or nine complete palettes of cargo at speeds nearing 400 miles per hour up to a ceiling of 34,000 feet and out to ranges of 4,200 nautical miles. These qualities translate well to the AEW&C patrol role and the design, as a whole, represents a major Chinese success in the field of self-sufficiency concerning its in-house military hardware.

The KJ-500 airframe is modified for the role through various additions including dedicated crew command consoles, antenna arrays, radar and - most notably - the circular "plate" array seated over the dorsal spine of the aircraft (aft of midships). The plate is a radome sitting atop a two-strutted support structure and is fixed in place - offering 360-degree coverage about the aircraft's airspace. Other bulges and protrusions are also noted, no doubt housing sensors and the like. The wing mainplanes maintain a shoulder-mounting which provide for excellent ground clearance as well as low-speed control and strong Short Take-Off and Landing (STOL) capabilities. The flight deck is seated over the short, downward-sloping nosecone with excellent vision out over the aircraft's frontal quadrant. The tail unit is raised (due to its transport roots) and sports ventral strakes as well as a single vertical tail fin with smaller, outboard vertical fins being added at each end of the horizontal planes. A multi-wheeled tricycle undercarriage, wholly-retractable, is used for ground-running.

Coupled with other current Chinese Air Force capabilities, the KJ-500 series platform certainly adds a much-needed modern potent tracking solution for the service. The onboard systems are completely networked into the Chinese Battle Management System (BMS) and reportedly offers good identification, multi-function, and responsiveness qualities.


Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed
Hi: 400mph
Lo: 200mph
This entry's maximum listed speed (342mph).

Graph average of 300 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
Graph showcases the Shaanxi KJ-500's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
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Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production (17)
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.

Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Supported Roles
Ground Attack
Aerial Tanker
A2A=Air-to-Air; UAV=Unmanned; CAS=Close Support; ASW=Anti-Submarine; AEW=Airborne Early Warning; MEDEVAC=Medical Evac; EW=Electronic Warfare; SAR=Search-Rescue
Commitments / Honors
Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.

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