China reveals 1st air-cooled radar for fighter jets

Global Times
Zhang Tao

Chinese military experts are guardedly optimistic over the international market potentials of China's newly developed fire control radar system, saying that although it is an upgrade of the jet fighters' radar system, China's radar is mainly used for domestic purposes.

The Aviation Industry Corporation of China's Leihua Electronic Technology Research Institute posted an article on its WeChat account on Friday, saying the development of the world's first two-dimensional airborne air cooled active phased array fire control radar, which has been tested during flight evaluation.

The article said that by developing the radar system, the company has successfully replaced pulse-doppler radars on jet fighters with active phased array radars.

The air cooling system of the new radars can reduce the weight burden on the jets, making them fly faster. And the change cycle has also been reduced, which could greatly improve the jets' combat capability. The system could enhance China's national defense capabilities, lead to further progress in developing scientific research hardware and increase the international competitiveness of China's airborne radar system, read the article.

However, Chinese military experts are concerned about the limited applications for such an upgrade.

Considering that the data control bus for earlier models, which are not likely to be compatible with the new radar system, the models for jet fighters to possibly apply such radar upgrade are J11-B or J11-D, Song Zhongping, a military expert who used to serve in the PLA Rocket Force, told the Global Times. Song also noted that such an upgrade for new jet fighters could be costly.

In a commentary on news portal on Saturday, military analyst Du Kaiyuan said the new radar system can spot third-generation jet fighters from at least 200 kilometers and intercept medium range air-to-air missiles. He said Pakistan is interested in using it for its JF-17 Block3 fighter jets, which could open the door to other countries.

However, Song said that China's radars are mainly meant for domestic use, and that the new radar system is unlikely to be used in countries without Chinese-made jet fighters.


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