Electronic Weapons: October 30, 2001


Having been blocked by US pressure from buying Israeli Phalcon radar planes, China has announced a deal to buy four Russian A-50MU Mainstay radar planes starting next year. These are less capable than the US-built E-3 or the Israeli plane, but are superior to anything in Chinese service. These aircraft will have refueling probes, and China has confirmed that four IL-78 air refueling tankers will also be purchased from Russia next year. These tankers can also refuel the Su-30 multi-role fighters.Stephen V Cole


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