Wednesday, July 15, 2015

PLA Daily's OpEd on the new Y-8GX6 (Y-8Q) ASW Aircraft

Expert: "Gaoxin-6" improves China’s anti-submarine capability greatly

(Source: China Military Online)   2015-07-10

"Gaoxin-6" fixed-wing anti-submarine patrol aircraft. (Profile picture)

   The first fixed-wing anti-submarine patrol aircraft made in China began to serve in the naval air force of Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), according to recent news. This patrol aircraft is named "Gaoxin-6" and it is independently developed and manufactured by China.

  "Gaoxin-6" will make China a major anti-submarine power

   Anti-submarine aircraft is considered the most important means in anti-submarine warfare. All naval powers in the world attach great importance to the development of anti-submarine aircraft.

  Since 2000, China has developed a number of "Gaoxin" special aircraft including early warning aircraft, electronic warfare aircraft and long-range reconnaissance aircraft based on "Y-8" aircraft. The "Gaoxin-6" fixed-wing anti-submarine patrol aircraft is developed to replace "Y-8" maritime patrol aircraft of the last century.

  The new anti-submarine patrol aircraft is equipped with new turboprop engine which has improved its power, range and endurance. In 2012, "Gaoxin-6" fixed-wing anti-submarine patrol aircraft had its first flight.

  A modern large-scale land-based anti-submarine patrol aircraft requires various high-techs. It requires complicated development technology but it has long service period. After the World War II, even the United States has only has two generations of land-based anti-submarine aircraft. Therefore, a large anti-submarine aircraft has been an important symbol of a major military power.

   Currently, the commission of "Gaoxin-6" into service marked that China has become a world power in terms of large-scale anti-submarine patrol aircraft.

  4 highlights of "Gaoxin-6"

  The performance of "Gaoxin-6" is very similar to US P-3C.

  1. Fast cruising speed and wide search range.

   "Gaoxin-6" uses advanced 6-leaf sweepback turboprop engine. It has a fast cruise speed and can take off in a field airport. It is also fuel-efficient and stable. Its cruising speed and maximum takeoff weight are similar to that of P-3C anti-submarine aircraft.

  2. Strong detection capability.

   A "gill" shaped fairing is installed on the nose position of "Gaoxin-6". Combined with a 360 degree large sea search radar, it can effectively detect submarines. A "magnetic anomaly detector" is installed in its tail used to detect submarines. The antenna of "Gaoxin-6" is longer than that of the P-3C and therefore, some experts believe that "Gaoxin-6" has better detection capability.

  3. Detection and strike capabilities

   "Gaoxin-6" is equipped with anti-submarine weapons including torpedoes, depth charges, mines and air-to-submarine missiles. It can carry a crew of over 10 people. It can detect the target and provide an indication for air-to-submarine missiles as well.

  4. Self-defense capability

   "Gaoxin-6" is equipped with advanced self-defense warning system and air-to-air missiles. It can respond to threats from the air and this ability to self-defense is similar to that of P-3C.

  Some analysts believe that "Gaoxin-6" has reached the level of P-3C in terms of system and hardware. There’s no great technical generation gap of anti-submarine capabilities between "Gaoxin-6", Japan’s P-1 and US P-8A.

   However, "Gaoxin-6" only filled in China’s blank of not having fixed-wing anti-submarine patrol aircraft. Compared with advanced anti-submarine aircraft, "Gaoxin-6" has some gaps in terms of software.

   Therefore, some experts suggest that in the future, China can develop a new generation of anti-submarine aircraft based on China’s own large aircraft C919 and Y-20 and other platforms in order to achieve better high-speed performance, better low-speed performance, long range and reasonable price.

  "Gaoxin-6" improves China’s anti-submarine capability greatly

   For a long time, the development of China’s anti-submarine equipment was slow, especially the air anti-submarine equipment that is capable of performing fast patrol and rapid response in large area and wide waters.

  The service of "Gaoxin-6" has filled this blank. "Gaoxin-6" can cover and control large areas. It can arrive in anti-submarine area in a short time to quickly and efficiently conduct anti-submarine search in suspicious waters.

  "Gaoxin-6" has enabled China to have the same anti-submarine capability as the US. "Gaoxin-6" also helped China become a leader among its neighboring countries in anti-submarine technology for quite a long time.

   It also helped China expand the anti-submarine monitoring range and defense line thousands of kilometers ahead to the second island chain. Thus, the Chinese navy's underwater control range has been greatly extended.

  The service of "Gaoxin-6" filled the last equipment gap of the Chinese navy. It reflects China’s determination in improving its open ocean combat capability. It is a major improvement of Chinese navy’s wide anti-submarine capability and another sign of Chinese navy’s march to the vast ocean.

  By Xie Cheng and Li Wei from National Defense University

Editor:Dong Zhaohui

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