(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
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
PLAN commission of the day: Y-8GX6 (Y-8Q) ASW Aircraft (High New 6) commissioned with the North Sea Fleet
Out-of-focus foreground Y-8 is the ASW High New 6 (note the magnetic anomaly detector "MAD" boom)