skip to main content

Beijing expanding airborne surveillance capabilities over East China Sea

Maxar Technologies Janes

Maxar Technologies imagery showing infrastructure expansion at Laiyang Air Base in China. Laiyang is home to the PLANAF's 4th Air Regiment, operating various surveillance aircraft. (Maxar Technologies/Janes)

The People's Liberation Army Naval Air Force (PLANAF) is likely increasing the number of fixed-wing early warning, electronic intelligence (ELINT), and maritime patrol aircraft that can be operated from its Laiyang Air Base in Northeast China.

Laiyang Air Base is home to the PLANAF's 4th Air Regiment and is one of two key facilities from which the service deploys its fleet of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) airframes.

These include the Shaanxi Aircraft Corporation's (SAC's) KJ-200 airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft and the Y-8J maritime surveillance platform.

The other main facility from which these aircraft are operated is the Lingshui Air Base on Hainan Island, which is home to the PLANAF's 9th Division.

Satellite images indicate that the PLANAF has been expanding the northwest limits of the Laiyang Air Base since early 2022. It has also begun constructing at least 11 large hangars within the newly acquired space.

Each of these hangars measures approximately 32×60 m and is able to accommodate various ISR airframes including the KJ-200 and the Y-8J. The new hangars will complement the six existing 40×58 m hangars on the airbase.

The turboprop engine-powered KJ-200 is equipped with a dorsal linear phased-array radar, similar to the Saab Erieye AEW&C radar, and this is mounted on struts above its rear fuselage. If its performance is similar to the Erieye, the aircraft has a sensor range of around 450 km.

Looking to read the full article?

Gain unlimited access to Janes news and more...