China's JF-17 Block III fighter jet could soon be part of Argentina's air force. Photo: China Ministry of Defense

China’s progress in the field of early warning radars — including radars that can reportedly detect stealth aircraft — are on display this week at the World Radar Expo 2021 in Nanjing, Global Times reported.

Jointly hosted by the China Radar Industry Association, the China Electronics Technology Group Co. Ltd. (CETC) and the China Electronics Information Industry Group Co. Ltd.(CEC), the ninth World Radar Expo will feature the country’s cutting-edge radar technologies.

More than 500 multinational companies from countries and regions including China, Germany, Russia, etc., as well as tens of thousands of international professionals, will be invited to attend the exhibition and participate in related activities.

The exhibits cover military radar systems, as well as civil radars and related equipment for aerospace, aviation, shipping, detection, meteorology, rescue and so on.

As one of the major exhibiting companies, CETC will showcase a series of advanced radar technologies, including a new type of highly mobile anti-stealth radar designed to detect low altitude, slow speed and small targets with the longest range in the world.

Another impressive piece of equipment is the KLJ-7A airborne active electronic scan array radar, the Global Times learned.

The JF-17 Block III fighter jet is expected to be equipped with the  KLJ-7A. The jet has aready begun prototype  tests and is expected to enter batch production in a couple years.

The KLJ-7A’s feature list includes track while scan, multi-object targeting and multi-target engagement, and synthetic aperture radar with ground moving target identification.

In general, an AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) radar would provide greatly improved electronic counter-countermeasure (ECCM) capabilities, meaning, higher resistance to enemy active electronic warfare (EW) jamming.

An active electronically scanned array is a type of phased array antenna, which is a computer-controlled array antenna in which the beam of radio waves can be electronically steered to point in different directions without moving the antenna.

The KLJ-7A can radiate multiple beams of radio waves at multiple frequencies simultaneously and spread its signal emissions across a wider range of frequencies, making the JF-17 more difficult to detect over background noise. Credit: Handout.

This is achieved using hundreds of solid-state TRMs, each serving as a “micro-radar” of sorts transmitting a unique signal simultaneously. For jamming pods, this makes the task of identifying, recording and re-transmitting all those signals, which change with each pulse, difficult.

This method also helps with shielding the radar from being detected by enemy radar warning receivers – i.e. giving it a “low-probability-of-intercept.”

As a result, as an AESA radar the KLJ-7A can compete with some of the most advanced radar systems deployed by rival light fighters such as the J-10, MiG-35 and F-18E — and outperforming those of platforms such as the F-16C and MiG-29.

The KLJ-7A is set to make the new JF-17 the lowest costing aircraft ever developed with next generation radar capabilities, and with the radar’s fire control systems reportedly able to operate non Chinese missiles such as the AIM-120 it could well be widely exported to a number of clients.

States such as Argentina, Morocco, Egypt and Saudi Arabia which have shown interest in the JF-17 but are accustomed to operating Western munitions incompatible with the Block I and Block II variants could well be more receptive to the Block III as a result.

China isn’t the first country to boast of the anti-stealth radar. In 2018, Russia revealed P-18-2 (an evolved version of Soviet-era P-18), surveillance and targeting radar, capable of detecting targets that use stealth technology.

Both CETC and CEC will display multiple types of large early warning radars in a move analysts said will allow the world to get a glimpse into China’s significant achievements in this field.

China’s top science award recipients, Wang Xiaomo and Liu Yongtan, will also give lectures on their vision of the development of radar technologies.

In addition, there are also several themed forums to be hosted during the Expo, such as “Radar and Intelligent Manufacturing,” “Radar and 5G Communication,” “Radar and Smart Air Traffic Control,” and “Radar and Disaster Prevention and Mitigation.”

Sources: Global Times,, Defense World, PRC Ministry of Defense, Military Watch Magazine, Eurasian Times, Wikipedia