Saturday, November 19, 2011

New Chinese ASW aircraft

The long rumoured ASW aircraft has finally been revealed. In recent photos from an airport (my guess in Shaanxi AC), we see Y-8 ASW aircraft (dubbed HIgh New 6) amongst them. Here are some of its photos. You can see from here that it has a large surface search radar under its chin, a FLIR sensor, internal bomb bays on both side of of the middle section of fuselage, a series of antennas underneath the fuselage and MAD boom at the back. You can also see a large window on each side of the rear fuselage for observation purpose. The aircraft itself is using the Y-8 Category 3 platform as can be seen by the 6 blade propellers.

Before anyone gets overly anxious or excited about this ASW aircraft, one should remember that there are over 100 P-3Cs in service with JMSDF and over 150 P-3Cs with USN. Since this is only a second generation ASW aircraft, it's probably a generation behind P-8 Poseidon in terms of the platform and sensors. At the moment, there appears to only be 2 of this aircraft. When one considers all of the different types of Y-8 special mission aircraft and the production capabilities of Shaanxi AC (around 10 such platform a year), it's really hard to see this number will go much higher in the next years.

In the same set of photos, we also see the tails of other Y-8 aircraft. Two of the tails are for Y-8 ASW aircraft, two are for KJ-200 and the remaining two are for unidentified platform.

We also get a picture of these aircraft from outside. It seems to indicate the existence of 3 KJ-200 here.

We see a KJ-200 painted in PLANAF colours with number 9421. We've previously seen a KJ-200 with number 9371. This should be joining the same PLAN regiment. The other two maybe joining the same regiment too or maybe for a new unit.

I have a previous article on the Y-8 special missions series of aircraft here.


Eric Z said...

Feng, I disagree with the idea this aircraft's sensors could be an entire "generation" behind the likes of P-8. P-3C came out decades ago and with the major boom in aircraft avionics like you said in your last blog post, I see no reason why this Y-8ASW could not be competitive with many of the modern MPAs today.

Not to mention they've already had years operating and likely upgrading their existing Y-8X MPAs.

Feng said...

Well, the airframe of Y-8 category III is definitely a generation behind P-8A's airframe. It's comparable to the turboprop powered P-3C platform. As for sensors, they just simply don't have the expertise in ASW like the Americans would, so it should be behind also.

Jiang said...

But still a leap forward!

With this plane, PLAN will have good anti sub capability!!

Many other countries dont even have one! Including western countries!

Feng said...

Well most of them use P-3C, which is a very mature and proven platform. For example, JMSDF has been very well trained with their 100+ P-3Cs and they are leaps ahead of PLAN in this area.