An aircraft carrier transforms a navy. It allows them to project its power thousands of miles from their own shores and is one of the hallmarks of a true ‘blue water’ navy. The Chinese Navy (PLAN) was until recently considered only a 'brown water navy,' but now it has two carriers and is building more.
Yet if the PLAN's carriers sail east into the Pacific or south to the Indian Ocean they may be vulnerable to air attack. This is because they lack airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft. But the new KJ-600 plane is about to change that.