Monday, March 5, 2012

Google Maps reveals China's new carrier-based AEW

Click on thumbnail for higher res image

Google Earth/Map's latest imagery of China's Xi'an-Yanliang airfield, home of the Xi'an Aircraft Industrial Corporation (西安飞机工业) and the China Flight Test Establishment, has revealed what appears to be a Airborne Early Warning (AEW) platform based on the Xi'an Y-7 transport aircraft. There were already reports (and blurry photos) purporting to be the Chinese Y-7 AEW on Chinese defence sites and forums a while back and this latest satellite photos would lend further credence to those reports. Speculation is that the Y-7 AEW is to be a carrier-based AEW platform, similar to the E-2 Hawkeye in U.S Navy service.

Hat-tip to @Combatair on Twitter.

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