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Shaanxi KJ-500


Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C)


China | 2010



"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."



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 07/09/2022 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this 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 enhanced identification, multi-function, and responsiveness qualities.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Shaanxi KJ-500 Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C).
4 x Zhuzhou WoJiang-6C (FWJ-6C) turboprop engines developing 5,100 horsepower each and driving six-bladed propeller units.
Propulsion
342 mph
550 kph | 297 kts
Max Speed
34,449 ft
10,500 m | 7 miles
Service Ceiling
3,542 miles
5,700 km | 3,078 nm
Operational Range
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Structure
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Shaanxi KJ-500 Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C).
24
(MANNED)
Crew
118.1 ft
36.00 m
O/A Length
131.2 ft
(40.00 m)
O/A Width
37.7 ft
(11.50 m)
O/A Height
88,185 lb
(40,000 kg)
Empty Weight
154,324 lb
(70,000 kg)
MTOW
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected below are altitude, speed, and range. The more full the box, the more balanced the design.
RANGE
ALT
SPEED
Armament
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Shaanxi KJ-500 Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) .
None. Mission equipment consists of sensors and processing systems for search and tracking of enemy elements at range.
Variants
Notable series variants as part of the Shaanxi KJ-500 family line.
KJ-500 - Base Series Designation.
Operators
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Shaanxi KJ-500. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 17 Units

Contractor(s): Shaanxi Aircraft Corporation - China
National flag of China

[ China ]
Relative Max Speed
Hi: 400mph
Lo: 200mph
Aircraft Max Listed Speed (342mph).

Graph Average of 300 MPH.
Era Crossover
Pie graph section
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Max Alt Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Production Comparison
17
36183
44000
Entry compared against Ilyushin IL-2 (military) and Cessna 172 (civilian) total production.
MACH Regime (Sonic)
Sub
Trans
Super
Hyper
HiHyper
ReEntry
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030
Aviation Timeline
EarlyYrs
WWI
Interwar
WWII
ColdWar
Postwar
Modern
Future
1 / 3
Image of the Shaanxi KJ-500
Image from the Chinese Ministry of Defense; Public Release.
2 / 3
Image of the Shaanxi KJ-500
Image from the Chinese Ministry of Defense; Public Release.
3 / 3
Image of the Shaanxi KJ-500
Image from the Chinese Ministry of Defense; Public Release.

Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to airborne requirements.
AIRBORNE EARLY WARNING
ELECTRONIC WARFARE
Recognition
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The Shaanxi KJ-500 Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) appears in the following collections:
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