In late 1990s, the PLA Air Force realised that they would lack
the modern AEW&C capability, as the Russias would only sell them an
export version Beriev A-50, with considerably reduced capability. The
only solution left was to build an AEW&C aircraft of their own. In 2001,
the Shaanxi Aircraft Corporation was ordered to develop series special
purpose aircraft based on the Yun-8 airframe, which is the Chinese
version of Antonov An-12. The KJ-200 was also known within the program.
The aircraft was outfitted with a radar antenna with a flat side and an
electronically controlled beam radar on the fuselage top, code-named
"Balance Beam". The first prototype first flew in 2005.
In 2006, the second prototype crashed when the aircraft was undergoing
system testing. The accident caused a major setback in the KJ-200
project due to the lost of an important prototype and many key
personnel. In 2009, the KJ-200 project was officially finished after it
performed as lead plane in Chinese National Day military parade.