China’s aircraft carrier has fatal weakness – vulnerable if too far away from China

A Z-18 early warning helicopter on the Liaoning

A Z-18 early warning helicopter on the Liaoning

The following is translated from Chinese media:

China’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, is said to have obtained initial operational capability after its recent test of intensive taking off and landing of J-15 carrier-based aircraft.

However, it has its fatal weakness: the lack of a fixed-wing airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft, as it has no catapult for these aircraft to take off from it.

The phased array radar on the carrier has four antenna boards to detect targets 400 km away from all directions; therefore, the carrier can effectively deal with a saturation attack. However, the radar cannot find a low-flying target until it comes very close to the carrier.

There have recently been some photos of a new type of helicopter on the carrier believed to be the new Z-18 early warning helicopters specially developed for the carrier.

However, early warning helicopters are inferior to fixed-wing AEW&C aircraft, as they cannot fly high enough to find low-flying targets far away. As a result, the Liaoning cannot go to areas outside the range of China’s land-based fixed-wing AEW&C aircraft unless China can reduce the size of its fixed-wing AEW&Cs.

Source: “Does the phased array radar on China’s aircraft carrier have fatal weakness? (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)

Categories: Defence & Aerospace

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

16 replies

  1. Also it’s a 30 year old Ukrainian pile of rust. .


  2. Be careful! The West believes China is not transparent enough with its military and that China has a strategy to hide its strength.


  3. At this point in time China’s Navy is no match to the US 7th fleet.



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