Hong Kong military commentator Leung Guo-liang says China's airborne early warning and control system is the world's most advanced radar system.
Leung, deputy editor of Hong Kong's China-leaning magazine the Mirror, said the radar's role in large-scale air battles has become increasingly important for coordinating aircraft.
Wang Xiaomo, one of the developers behind China's airborne early warning and control system, said the country has achieved nine breakthroughs in the development of the system that put it ahead of the United States. China's KJ-2000 early warning and control system is a multi-functional and sophisticated radar that has the longest and widest range in the world, Wang said.
The Washington-based Jamestown Foundation was cited as saying China's early warning and control system with its Active Phased Array Radar is one generation ahead of the Boeing E-3C Sentry of the US, the most advanced of its kind in the US, with its rotating radar dome.
Although the US development of Passive Phased Array Radar has matured and been used on Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, China has been focusing on developing the more advance Active Phased Array Radar from the beginning and sought to take advantage of its earlier entry to the sector.
The state-run China News Service admitted that the Active Phased Array Radar has already been installed on the American fifth-generation F-22 stealth fighter jet, but said that it does not qualify as an airborne early warning and control system, because the aircraft which houses it is too fragile for purpose. The KJ-2000 plane may not be able to monitor 400 targets and guides attacks to 100 of them like the Boeing E-3C but the Chinese aircraft has updated its electronics.
The KJ-2000 was a Russian-made military transport plane and is able to land on battle grounds, however, the US aircraft was remodeled from a passenger airplane. It has a more fragile body which can be affected by poor weather and can only carry out missions outside of battle grounds, which limits its early-warning and control capabilities.
Wang has been exploring the possibilities of giving all Chinese early-warning and control systems the capability to detect the US F-22 stealth fighter jet.