Chinese AWACS system — an interview with designer

Chinese AWACS system - an interview with designer

Magazine, "Binz Zhisheng" in the January issue of its own published an interview with the deputy chief designer of Chinese AWACS aircraft ZDK-03, fellow Chinese holding defense electronics CETC Cao Cheng.

Raised in the past year in Pakistan three aircraft ZDK-03 became the first Chinese AWACS complexes aimed at export. Cao Cheng shared his gaze on the development of AWACS systems in China and the world, including Russia. Specifically, he said, the localization of production in the PRC principal component complexes AWACS AFAR, pointed to some used in their technical solutions.

Individual expressions Cao leave room for interpretation. It is, for example, states that the "localization" of production in China, the main component of AFAR, including MRP, and in the subsequent phrase, referring to the processor, shows that they are "as a result of our own research and development."

If it is not a statement of failure, may be we are dealing with an indication of foreign aid in the deployment of component AFAR. One can only assume how such assistance could arrive.

Cao was, as you can tell, the first Chinese official who confirmed to the press that the first Chinese carrier-based AWACS aircraft can be will be created on the basis of Y-7 — Chinese clone of an old Russian Antonov-24 transporter, recognizing all this numerous challenges and threats to such a path.

In the real translation of sections of the interview did not reflect that affect global trends AWACS aircraft, because of their sheer volume.

Emperor Cao zdrasti! Not so long ago on the web have the photos put China Pakistan AWACS aircraft. On some of them on the fuselage of the aircraft is clearly visible logo CETC. As a researcher at the CETC, Could you brief us on the situation in the company and its role in China's defense industry.

CETC — a "national team" of our country in the field of defense electronics and information technology. At the current time it is one of 10 municipalities of the military-industrial companies. It was created in 2002 and initially engaged in the creation and development of both military and civilian electronics and IT-products. We manufacture and develop a wide range of products, from electrical components, computers and software to them, to all-encompassing automated control systems, data management systems and complex equipment such as AWACS aircraft. Our main business scope is the military electronics.

In fact, delivered to Pakistan aircraft ZDK-03 are named in honor of CETC (abbreviated title of the Chinese read as Zhong Dian Ke). The number "03" means that this is the third set of AWACS made by the company — the first with 2 were KJ-2000, KJ-200. Our company plays an important role in other large projects. For example, in the manned program there gallakticheskoy CETC represented at the level of Deputy General Designer and is responsible for communications and telemetry, radar technology, solar panels, and developing and creating a number of the main component. In the lunar program there CETC also represented at the level of deputy principal designer and perceives a fundamental role in the development of five major systems, namely, an orbiting satellite, rocket, launch pad, telemetry and communication equipment and ground infrastruktury.CETC also owns the principal role in the 16 states declared special handbills development.

Radar — the main equipment AWACS aircraft. What are the trends in the development of aviation radar in the world? At what level are the Russian aviation radar?

The main trend in the development of aviation radar at the present time is the introduction of active phased array antennas. Our industry is in the field of aviation radar breakthrough performed immediately from the radar with mechanically scanned to systems with an active phased array antenna, with all this, we were not engaged in the creation of radar PFAR. We have created the first in the world of three-coordinate radar remote detection AFAR, ie Radar, which provides electrical scanning height and azimuth, which in turn leads to the creation of radar AFAR for the fighter. If we talk about the time of creation, Israel and Sweden have made the first AESA radars for AWACS aircraft, the United States first adopted the AESA radar for a fighter with a position on the F-22. Europeans at the moment apart from mastering the production of AESA for AWACS aircraft are equipped with AESA radar fighter — for example the British "Tornado". Another trend is the development of aviation radar digitization (…) The level of digitalization of our aircraft radar occupy one of of favorite places in the world.

What is the degree of localization of production of devices for the Chinese aviation radar? For example, the transmitter amplifiers (?) Processor chips and software?

Create all of the major components of Russian aviation radar, including two-way radio modules (APMs) AFAR is localized in China. Microprocessors are needed for high-speed data processing are also the result of our own research and development. As for the computer, while the introduction of a component with a commercial market in the near future trend and on-board data processing systems do not necessarily use a specific military purpose and the computer can be without any problems getting the right products in the market, it is beyond doubt would potentially dangerous security of our art. Because we spent a couple of years back the localization of the main components of computer hardware, including servers, workstations, microchips microprocessors, operating systems and storage systems. On the basis of these national production platforms were made AWACS aircraft KJ-200, ZDK03. So Makar, we can say that due to the localization of the platform and major components, we equally have taken the initiative of Russian AWACS aircraft in their hands. (…)

In the development of AWACS aircraft and other types of aircraft carriers of electronic equipment is a complex problem of electrical compatibility. How is it solved, namely, in our country? (…)

It must be emphasized that even entry into service of aircraft KJ2000 already marked our solution to this complex difficulties. After that, the solution of the problem of comparability of electric airplanes KJ200, ZDK03 no longer be a problem. In technical terms, the problem is solved by 4 methods — frequency diversity, diversity of equipment in space, different polarity and time diversity. (…)

Cooling of radar and other equipment — not an easy question, especially in Pakistan or Middle Eastern countries with a hot climate. What new methods of cooling are used? As a languid cooling equipment?

Radar consumes a lot of energy, power radar AWACS aircraft at the peak may be hundreds of square meters. If we are talking about PFAR, the heat is released priemuschestvenno with 2 parts of the system — in-1's, the primary transmitter, located inside the aircraft, and in the 2-phase converter inside the radome radar. Located inside the cab transmitter generate much heat, air cooling is not enough, you need to liquid. A phase converter can be cooled by ram air. As for AESA, then it inside the cockpit there are no massive heat. As a group of several cells of APM which is an antenna array, in case power is large, it may be cooling water, as KJ-2000. If they radiated power is low, it may be air cooling, as KJ200. As for weight, at the present level for the coo
ling power of 1 kW to equipment weighing 1200 — 1500 g. So Makar, the cooling capacity of the unit is 200 kW reclaims equipment weighing about 300 kg.

At this point, all staring at the theme of ship-based AEW & C aircraft. Those likely platforms that we have at the moment, are not suitable for take-off from the springboard. But, for example, the Y-12 aircraft with the highest take-off weight of 5.3 tons, the largest payload mass of 1.7 tons. Whether it can become a ship's AWACS aircraft? Is it possible to base the aircraft carrier equipped with a catapult, a complex of AWACS aircraft based on the Y-7 (Chinese clone AN-24) with makismalnaya takeoff weight of 21 tonnes and a payload of 4.7 tons?

E-2 aircraft with maximum take-off weight of 26 tons from the start based on aircraft carriers displacement of about 80 thousand tons. We currently have a carrier-based platform displacement of the order of 60 thousand tons. It can be said that the Y-12 is very small and the Y-7 is approaching the South American E-2. But it should be noted that its take-off mass is much smaller than that of the aircraft C-2, which is created on the basis of E-2. But it must be stressed that it is much easier to C-2 and the length of wingspan and, on the contrary, considerably larger. Since its introduction on the aircraft carrier problem. C-2 is designed for deployment on an aircraft carrier and has a lot of relevant features, such as folding wings, pitch-resistant radome radar, etc. If you make of Y-7 similar deck plane, I'm afraid, have to do with it are the same configuration except for the installation of special equipment. I am afraid that the amount of work to change the design will not be the lowest than in the development of a new special deck plane. But in the absence of the best platforms I personally believe that the Y-7 still can be a fundamental goal.

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