CETC offers new ZDK06 AEW&C for export, hints platform options
February 24, 2024
A People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) KJ-200. Photo credit: Allen Zhao (http://www.airliners.net/search?user=109333&display=detail) via Wikipedia Commons.

CETC offers new ZDK06 AEW&C for export, hints platform options

At China’s bi-annual air show last week in Zhuhai, China Electronics Technology Group (CETC) began marketing its new ZDK06 airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) system.

The ZDK06 appears to be based on the KJ-200 ‘Balance Beam’ AEW&C system, which is in service with the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF).

CETC’s marketing material states that the ZDK06 uses an “active phased array and pulse-Doppler radar” designated JY-06. This is conceptually like the Saab Erieye.

Notes & Comments:

It is not clear if the ZDK06 is a successor to the rotating ZDK03, which was acquired by the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) in the late 2000s and early 2010s (and locally designated Karakoram Eagle).

Although CETC did not list the JY-06’s performance specifications, it did state that the ZDK06 benefits from “lower requirement of aircraft modification” thanks to the JY-06’s “balance beam … based antenna.”

This could be an indication that the ZDK06 is being marketed as a customizable solution in that the end-user could have it integrated to the aircraft platform of their choice. Although shown with an image of a Y-8-based aircraft, the Y-8 was not mentioned explicitly.

Currently, Pakistan is CETC’s sole export customer. However, an increasingly apparent theme with China’s offerings is that the available of affordable and accessible technology of this nature could expand the pool of customers beyond the industry’s leading buyers.