China moves cutting-edge AWACS planes near disputed S. China Sea islands

The Chinese military has deployed its latest airborne early warning and control aircraft to an air base in the vicinity of the contested South China Sea islands, according to Defense News, citing satellite imagery. The imagery provided by DigitalGlobe company shows a number of Shaanxi KJ-500 and KJ-200 airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft at the Jialaishi Air Base in the northern part of China’s Hainan island,

Defense News reported on Friday. According to the news outlet, this is the first time China has stationed its state-of-the-art KJ-500 aircraft in Hainan. The KJ-500, bearing a distinctive radar antenna over the fuselage, is equipped with a “dorsal radar dish mounting a phased array radar with three fixed arrays angled at 120 degrees relative to each other for all-round coverage.” READ MORE