In addition to the size and weight, Y-7 aerodynamic shape also needs to be improved. Chinese Navy carrier-based fixed-wing AWACS will have to take off from the smaller deck and realizes a long cruise at high altitude. Therefore, it needs to adopt new aerodynamic layout, especially improving the aircraft’s lift and the lift-drag ratio. For modern transport aircraft, the use of supercritical airfoil and wing aerodynamic layout is an advanced technology widely used in countries. From the 1970s, China began to study the supercritical airfoil, and modification of the K-8 demonstrator related technical studies. Therefore, the Chinese Navy carrier-based fixed-wing AWACS possibly uses supercritical airfoil and wing.
The new pictures show, this aircraft technology demonstrator uses a multi-piece vertical tail. This is also the carrier-based fixed-wing AWACS common layout, such as E-2C and YAK-44. The aircraft uses a multi-vertical tail structure, in order to ensure that the tail has a sufficient area. Multi-piece tail can provide aircraft navigational stability, but also can control the height of the tail for the deployment in aircraft carrier. So multi-piece tail can be seen as a decisive evidence of the development of PLA Navy carrier-based fixed-wing AWACS
From the pictures, the technology demonstrator uses a disc radome. The foreseeable future, the Chinese Navy carrier-based fixed-wing AWACS antenna arrangement may be similar to the E-2D’s single phased array antenna, with consideration of the performance in the detection range and air situation information gathering ability.
Another interesting thing is that China’s new carrier-based fixed-wing AWACS also indicates that China’s second aircraft carrier is likely to equipped with catapult. On aircraft carrier Varyag, Chinese edition E-2C need to take-off distance of 200 meters, thus greatly limit the number of combat aircraft on the carrier deck. And if Chinese second aircraft carrier with displacement of 60,000 tons to use the catapult, the new fixed-wing AWACS take-off distance can be shortened to 100 meters. Such as the Chinese aircraft carrier flight deck can accommodate about 20 combat aircraft to significantly increase its combat capability.
Therefore to the Chinese navy, the development of carrier-based fixed-wing AWACS represents a leap in the ability of Naval Operations.