Wang Xiaomo, father of Chinese AWACS

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Wang Xiaomo [File photo]


Wang Xiaomo, born in 1938 in Shanghai, has worked in radar development for over 50 years. He is a famous radar expert, and the founder of the modern Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) industry in China.

In 1995, he was elected as an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering. In 2012, he won the National Top Science and Technology Award. He has also trained 18 chief designers of AWACS and radar system.

Over 50 years, he has made a significant contribution to the country.

In the 1960s, Wang creatively proposed the intrapulse scanning method, which greatly simplified radar systems. In the 1970s, he designed the JY-8 radar, which was the first automatic three-dimensional radar in China. In the 1980s, he designed the first JY-9 radar, which had strong anti-jamming and low-altitude flying abilities. In the 1990s, Wang succeeded in developing China's first generation airborne early warning system, leading the Chinese AWACS industry to an internationally advanced level.

Owning AWACS was the expectation of generations of Chinese people. Back in the 1970s, China started to develop AWACS, but failed. At that time, Wang realized that to defend the country's sovereignty in conditions of informationization, China must have AWACS. Therefore, he joined the Chinese AWACS research without the least hesitation.

It is worth noting that the Chinese AWACS was nearly strangled in the cradle when foreign partners unilaterally broke the cooperation contract. It was Wang who was entrusted with the mission at that critical and difficult moment and succeeded.

Two types of AWACS, the KJ-2000 and KJ-200 broke more than 100 key technologies and won nearly 30 major patents. A U.S. think tank also noted that they were one generation ahead of the U.S. E-3C and E-2C. On Oct. 1, 2009, the AWACS developed by Wang worked as the pilot models and flew over Tian'anmen Square perfectly in the parade to mark the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. This was the debut of the Chinese AWACS. In the major military exercises in China, the Beijing Olympic Games, Shanghai World Expo and Guangzhou Asian Games, the KJ-2000 completed its task with flying colors.

In fact, it was before Wang began to work in the AWACS industry that he noticed that China should have its own AWACS equipment series because of its large territory. In order to achieve the goal, Wang went to the field test site. In temperatures of over 40 degrees, he worked over ten hours a day. In 2006, just when the project came to the critical moment, Wang was injured in a car accident, suffering from serious leg fractures, and soon he was diagnosed with lymph cancer. Wang calmed down and communicated with the designers in bed. Once his condition improved slightly, he went back to work.

Hard work paid off. Wang and his team created another type of Chinese-made AWACS, making China the fourth country to export an AWACS, after the United States, Sweden and Israel.

Wang's innovation never stopped. Soon he began to focus on all-digital array radar technology. The digital array technology was the most advanced technology worldwide at that time. He thought this was the future direction for China's AWACS. Finally Wang made China the first country to put the digital array technology into use in AWACS. This marked the fact that China's AWACS technology had moved from a leading level to an advanced level in the world. It also enhanced China's political and military influence internationally.

With Wang's innovation and development, the Chinese AWACS industry grew quickly. Both high-end products and low-end products emerged, and came into service both at home and abroad.

Although Wang has won many awards for his contribution, he never stops. He still goes to work every day and discusses technical issues with young people. With his help, many young people have made themselves chief architects of the development of AWACS.

"There is still a long way to go in the field of AWACS. We can never stop," Wang Xiaomo said.

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