China's KJ-600 performs 1st test flight

China has announced its KJ-600 carrier airborne early warning (AEW) aircraft has performed its first flight, the country said.

China is the only other country than the United States to have successfully developed such a platform.

The aircraft resembles the American E-2 Hawkeye platform which deploys from US Navy supercarriers, and from the French medium carrier Charles De Gaulle, and is expected to provide the Chinese People´s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy´s carrier air wings with at least a peer level of situational awareness to its American counterparts.

Chinese shipyards are currently constructing two Type 002 Class supercarriers, which will be the first outside the United States to integrate electromagnetic catapult launch systems allowing them to deploy heavier aircraft including fighters with more fuel and munitions as well as large AEW aircraft.

It is expected that the KJ-600 will continue flight testing until the first Type 002 Class ship begins sea trials, after which it will be integrated into its air wing.