6AS-332L1 are in service with PLAAF (S/N 21xx). This rarely seen helicopter was first acquired in the 1986 and has mainly served as a VIP transport helicopter. Some specifications: max TO weight 9,000kg, max speed 278km/h, range 618km, ceiling 3,500m. It was reported in April 2011 that PLAAF acquired a new batch of 3 EC-225LPs (S/N 2128-2130) in addition to the original AS-332L1s. The latest image (August 2017) indicated that a Beidou navigational antenna has been installed on top of its tail boom. - Last Updated 8/11/17
F-7MP is a further upgraded variant of F-7P with improved cockpit layout and navigation system. PAF ordered 20 F-7MPs during the late 80s following the delivery of 60 F-7Ps. It was reported that subsequently all F-7Ps were upgraded to MP standard. Both F-7P and F-7MP are generally referred to as F-7P since the external difference is minimum. The most noticeable feature of F-7MP is the four BM/KJ-8602 RWR antennas on top of the vertical tail. In the mid-90s PAF planned to replace the GEC-Marconi GMAv Skyranger ranging radar with the more powerful FIAR Grifo 7 multi-mode fire-control radar (search range >50km), but the work was postponed until early 2004 due to certain technical and financial difficulties. Recent images indicated that F-7P/MP has been fitted with a new dorsal UHF/VHF antenna behind the cockpit. F-7P/MPs are expected to be replaced by the new JF-17s.
- Last Updated 3/18/16
Boeing 737 Command Post
It is believed that this airbone command post aircraft was developed by Xian Aircraft Corporation (XAC). The aircraft appears to have been converted privately from a Boeing 737-3Q8 passenger aircraft (without US approval) which was originally purchased by China United Airline in 1990. A prominent feature of Boeing 737 command post is one large fairing on top of the forward fuselage and two small fairings located underneath the mid-section of the fuselage, which could house communication and datalink antennas. One aircraft (B-4052) was once used as a missile tracking platform for strategic missile tests such as CJ-10 LACM. Initially the aircraft adopted a light grey color scheme by was changed to the standard PLAAF VIP transport color scheme. Two were converted (B-4052 & 4053).
- Last Updated 11/15/15
Il-76 Engine Testbed Candid
A picture of the Il-76 engine testbed landing at CFTE is shown here. The aircraft was modified from a former Russian Il-76SKIP/Be-976 missile tracking aircraft (S/N RA-76456). The modification including the removal of the radar system took place in 2004 at the LII Flight Research Institute and the aircraft was handed over to China in mid-2005. The inner engine on the port side has been converted into an engine testbed, an arrangement similar to Russian Il-76LL engine testbed variant. Two large wingtip pods were retained which now might house engine monitoring instrument. Two small pods of unknown purpose (cameras?) can be seen attached to the rear fuselage. The IL-76 engine testbed (S/N 760) is in service with CFTE, replacing the old Tu-16 engine testbed. The aircraft is expected to be involved in the development of WS-10, WS-15, WS-18 and WS-20 series turbofan engines. A WS-20 prototype was first seen being tested on the testbed in April 2013. Recent images (January 2015) suggested that the A-50I AWACS prototype (S/N 762) was recently converted into an engine testbed with its rotodome removed. The aircraft was used for the testing of the WS-18 turbofan engine.
- Last Updated 3/19/16
For years a handful Boeing 737 airliners have been operated by PLAAF 34th Division as VIP transport aircraft. Due to the sensitivity of carrying out military-related missions using US-made civilian aircraft, those Boeing 737s were initially painted with the CAAC markings and serial numbers only. However recent images indicated that they are now formally painted with PLAAF insignias (S/N B-4080 &4081).
- Last Updated 8/17/16
The first clear image of the mysterious JZY-01 technology demonstrator (JZ: shipborne, Y: AWACS) is shown here, taken at the CFTE airfield. In April 2005 a shipborne AWACS model was partially exposed during a visit of Chinese Vice Prime Minister to the 603 Institute. The model appears similar to American E-2C or Russian Yak-44, characterized by a large rotodome and a large cooling intake on top of forward cabin. It also features two turboprop engines with 6-blade high-efficiency propellers. This new AWACS is thought to be partially based on the Y-7/MA-60 passenger aircraft but might also be a completely new design. In order to fit into the aircraft carrier hangar, it also features folding wings and tailfins and its fuselage is thought to be shorter than that of Y-7/MA-60. Two upgraded turboprop engines might be installed to generate more power. Some Russian assistance has been expected involving Yakovlev OKB. It was first rumored in September 2010 that a technology demonstrator was built by XAC and being tested at CFTE. JZY-01 appears to have a forward fuselage very similar to that of Y-7, and newly designed rear fuselage with four E-2C style vertical tailfins to maintain the stability. It also features two WJ-6C turboprop engines (5,100hp) used by Y-9 transport aircraft, replacing the less powerful WJ-5E turboprop (3,050hp) on Y-7. This, combining with redesigned wings with a bigger wing area, is believe to give the aircraft a strong STOL capability, which is essential for carrier operation. However, as a technology demonstrator, JZY-01 appears to lack the sophisticated C3I equipment onboard, including the radar, as well as the strengthened undercarriage, and it is also lacks the tail hook. Therefore its main purpose has been to collect the structural and aerodynamic characteristics of a shipborne fixed-wing AWACS for a follow-on design (KJ-600), which is believed to be under development at 603/XAC and in the same class of American E-2C. The emergence of JZY-01 suggests that Chinese are working on a dedicated AWACS platform for the indigenous aircraft carrier to be built with steam catapults.
- Last Updated 6/17/17
Airbus A319 VIP
Three Airbus A319 ACJ airliners (B-4090, 4091, 4092) have been flied by PLAAF 34th
Division/China United Airlines as VIP transport aircraft. Recent images indicated that they are now formally painted with PLAAF
insignias, similar to the Boeing 737-800 VIP transport operated by the same unit.
- Last Updated 8/17/16
A rarely seen PLAN Y-7G medium transport aircraft is shown here (S/N 98x7). It is mainly used to transport military personnel between the Hainan Island and the Paracel Island in the South China Sea. The aircraft was developed by XAC based on the MA-60 airliner which can carry up to 60 passengers. A small number of Y-7Gs are also in service with PLAAF SAR and transport regiment (S/N 55x1x). Its export version is still called MA-60 and is in service with air forces of several foreign countries such as Cambodia.