Tags: Chinese | Radar | Planes

Chinese Radar Planes

Wednesday, 25 May 2005 12:00 AM

China has successfully developed an AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) radar plane. The aircraft, a modified Russian-made transport, is currently undergoing testing with the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) near Nanjing, Jiangsu Province.

The surveillance plane, a modified Russian IL-76 transport, is reportedly fitted with a Chinese-made airborne radar system at Xian Aircraft Industry Co. (XAC). The aircraft made its first flight in November 2003, and has been designated as Kong Jing-2000 or KJ-2000.

Two KJ-2000s, one based on a Russian radar plane purchased by China and one converted from a Chinese Air Force IL-76MD transport have been delivered to the PLAAF for operational evaluation and tests. According to reports from Beijing, a total of four aircraft will eventually be built.

The newly developed airborne radar planes are expected to join a growing force of advanced aircraft poised to take Taiwan by storm. The PLAAF radar plane is designed to command and control the massive numbers of jet fighters deployed by the PLAAF.

Officially, all of the Russian-made IL-76 transports belong to the China United Airline (CUA), the commercial branch of the PLAAF. The IL-76 aircraft are registered with the four digit numbering used by civilian aircraft.

However, these Russian transport aircraft are painted in the civil China United airline scheme. In fact the IL-76 jet transports are actually operated by the PLAAF 13th Air Division based at Wuhan, Hubei Province and the PLAAF 34th Air Division based at Nanyuan AFB, Beijing.

The airline and aircraft in question are not civilian, despite their peacetime color paint scheme. In fact, these very same "civilian" China United Airlines IL-76 transports dropped paratroopers, tanks and artillery directly on to the battlefield during the fall 2000 Chinese military exercises.

The Chinese airline in question, China United, is owned and operated by the People's Liberation Army Air Force. According to a 1994 U.S. military report, the Clinton administration knew that China United Airlines was owned by the PLAAF.

Documentation obtained using the Freedom of Information act shows that China United Airlines is actually one of several businesses wholly owned and operated by the PLAAF.

"China United Airlines (CUA) is a commercial entity of the PLA Air Force," states a 1994 report on the Chinese military issued by Lt. Col. Dennis Blasko, former U.S. defense attache to Beijing.

China United has been very successful as a front company operating in the west for the Chinese military. In 2000, the Chinese air force obtained ten U.S. made airliners for use as military aircraft. According to Aviation Week and Space Technology, the Chinese Army Air Force obtained the ten Boeing 737-300 jet transports through a purchase by China United Airlines.

U.S. defense intelligence officials confirmed that the Chinese Air Force is currently operating the ten Boeing China United airliners as military troop transports.

China United Airlines also operates a sophisticated spy aircraft for the PLAAF, again using the CUA peacetime paint scheme as flying camouflage. China United Airlines aircraft B-4138, a Russian-made TU-154M three-engine airliner, flies under an international civilian number as a passenger plane.

However, defense analysts confirmed that B-4138 is actually a Chinese air force spy plane equipped with a sophisticated radar and communications equipment. The heavily modified TU-154M airliner is equipped with an array of communications antenna on the rear and a huge radar dome on the bottom of the aircraft.

PLAAF Major General Liu Taichi was the chairman of China United Airlines. The youngest son of a revolutionary marshal, Gen. Liu was also the deputy head of the PLAAF equipment department.

Gen. Lui often traveled to the United States as a civilian, using his position at China United as a cover. He also became a familiar face inside U.S. aviation companies such as Boeing. During the Clinton years, Gen. Liu bought six Boeing planes for use as VIP aircraft.

"He was one of Boeing's best customers," said a former business associate of the PLAAF commander in a recent article published by the Wall Street Journal.

The Clinton administration also approved the sale of a used Delta Airlines Boeing 767 to China United. The Boeing 767 was intended to become Chinese President Jiang Zemin's personal plane. The 767 was refitted at a Texas airport with sophisticated American-made electronics, including satellite communications and navigation systems.

Ironically, the aircraft was also fitted with a series of covert eavesdropping devices, including bugs placed inside President Jiang's airborne bedroom, bathroom and secure telephone systems. The 767-bugging incident led to the arrest of Gen. Liu.

Throughout the 1990s, the Clinton administration engaged the Chinese air force using civilian programs as cover. The Clinton administration was clearly aware of China United and its PLAAF ownership.

The Clinton administration allowed PLAAF generals to tour Federal Aviation Administration facilities and U.S. Air Force bases around the United States, dressed as civilians. Chinese officers even managed to visit Edwards Air Force Base in California.

According to USAF documents, PLAAF officers toured Edwards Air Force Base in May 1999 for military purposes. The PLAAF officers were given training on USAF combat missions, including "bombing and strafing" and "combat readiness."

In 1999, the Clinton administration offered the PLAAF the latest in advanced "mobile radars," command and control systems, GPS navigation, and "Surveillance Avionics" such as "Air to Air," "Air to Ground" and "Surface Area Movement" surveillance radars.

The USAF documents also include training manuals from the USAF 334th Training Squadron in both English and Chinese. The documents show that Clinton administration officials proposed to train PLAAF military air controllers.

The USAF documents show that PLAAF officers were given a "simulated" training mission. The training included a "two ship formation of F-16s from Luke AFB, Arizona" on a "bombing" and overflight mission in a training area, code-named "Baghdad," northwest of Prescott, Arizona. The simulated exercise also included "in-flight refueling" with a tanker aircraft under control of a USAF AWACS plane.

The U.S. government has frequently approved the sale of military transport aircraft to China under innocent civilian disguises, including several Lockheed C-130 heavy-lift transport aircraft that were purchased by Air China, an airline 100 percent owned by the communist government.

The C-130 Hercules is current used by the USAF as a heavy transport plane and has recently been used in Afghanistan and Iraq as an aerial gunship.

If any single lesson is to be learned, it is that China is not a strategic partner but a determined adversary willing to use guile, camouflage and - if necessary - force to obtain its national goals.

The buildup of advanced Chinese weapons systems under the guise of civilian programs is simple deception designed to fool the ignorant and provide cover for the greedy. It is time to close down PLA Inc. and all of its franchise businesses.


Charles Smith will be on:

The Jerry Hughes Show on Friday, 5/27/05, at 3 p.m. Eastern time. Show information at http://www.cilamerica.com.

The George Putnam Show on Friday, 5/27/05, at 1 p.m. Pacific time (4 p.m. Eastern time) on KCAA 1050 AM in Southern California; WPYT 560 AM in Pittsburgh; WLTH 1370 AM in Gary, Ind., and Chicago; and CRN Radio Network, WWW.CRNI.NET.


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China has successfully developed an AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) radar plane.The aircraft, a modified Russian-made transport, is currently undergoing testing with the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) near Nanjing, Jiangsu Province. The surveillance...
Wednesday, 25 May 2005 12:00 AM
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