Chinese Radars

A major dynamic report about Chinese radars and systems deployed in China is now available in .pdf format on CDROM. At 600 over pages the Chinese Radar Report is the only work of its type and deals with all aspects of radar and their development in China over the last 30 years.

The following sample text and images are taken from the Chinese Radar Report and give an example of its format and content. To view examples of individual technical reports on specific radar types, click the relevant link at the bottom of this page.


There has been a defence electronics technology revolution in China over the last three decades, although its development appears not to have been very widely recognised overtly by Western authorities until well into the 1990s. This may be partly because China has always been rather secretive concerning military equipment and their development, especially so during a period that has seen the country challenged by a Western arms embargo that is still in force, but she has also seen moderating reforms and been the subject of a continuing cultural revolution, which generated a steep free-market learning curve. However, the West is now starting to see more clearly the benefits of China’s indigenous efforts, legitimate or otherwise.

This document attempts to identify the radar scene in China today. By its very nature the contents have to be considered dynamic, because radar is a technology that just does not stand still. Even during the research and preparation of this document some Chinese radars have been made redundant whilst other new ones have emerged.


The 1980s saw the first signs of change following Deng Xiaoping’s gradually introduced market-led reforms and decentralised economic decision-making processes. It was a period when relaxation in freedom of movement permitted an increasing number of graphic images to reach the Western hemisphere, and some military analysts were surprised at what they saw. Exchanges between scientific institutions and their celebrities has also furthered an understanding of the progress made within China and it is abundantly evident that its population has learned much from the free world during this period, in particular from America, mainly with thanks to it’s freedom of information act.

Contrary to the belief of GlobalSecurity (, in October 1983 the International Defence Review (now Jane's IDR) published two pictures of a Jiangdong class destroyer with a ‘phased array antenna’ at its masthead. At that time such technology was not in production in Western Europe for ship-borne applications and the only manufacturers in the USA, Hughes (AN/SPS-39A, -52 and -72) and ITT-Gilfillan (AN/SPS-48), were not permitted to export their systems or its technology to China.

It was also considered unlikely to be a Soviet system because relationships between the two countries had cooled appreciably during the period and technology transfer from Russia had ceased, although there is now good trading again between Russia and China. The only possible conclusion was an indigenous solution, and even if it was a re-engineered one, based on legitimate or other acquisition of suitable documentation and appropriate components from America, it came as a considerable surprise to many defence pundits. (Apart from the USA the only other warships with ‘phased’ (actually frequency scanned) array radar systems at the time were Australia (Perth class); Germany (Adams class) and Italy (various classes) all of whom had either SPS-39 or SPS-52 supplied by the USA with the Standard, Terrier or Tartar SAM systems on US built ships)

Whilst this period of progress went through a number of hiccups, such as the Tianaman Square incident, solid progress has since been made. Emphasising this point, a number of sources have reported on China’s developing coastal defence system. One source has noted that during the period 2004~2006 China built over 60 radar sites down its coastline opposite Taiwan.

The Chinese manufacturing sector has certainly benefited from production out-sourcing by many multinational companies, which foresaw less expensive labour solutions in the Far East. China may well have benefited from the off-shore activities of some European concerns in their circumvention of both international and national policies, and in this respect the UK Government is currently investigation some of its own major businesses.

But where did it all start ?

We welcome feedback, positive or negative, about any aspect of the contents of this document.

to view Sample Radar Type JY-14 Record click here

to view Sample Airborne Radar Type 245 Record click here

to view Sample Shipborne Radar Type 346 Record click here

to view Sample Missile Radar Type AMR-1Record click here

link from Chinese Radars to Radar Emitter Database page