I think they have liimted a AWACS capability with the exception of USA and Russia they aren't that bad.
They have 3 KJ-2000
Y-8J the capability is limited by it is better than nothing and still pretty useful
It has a detection range of 85km (look-down mode) or 110km (look-up mode) against a 5 m2 aerial target, and 230km against a sea surface target. A total of 100 aerial targets and 32 sea surface targets can be tracked simultaneously. Y-8J also has a limited C&C capability. The system can direct up to 6 aircraft to intercept enemy aircraft. The first prototype flew in 1998.
Though it does not have a AWACS capability, it is a AEW. So far 2 have been identified. Though China bought 6-8 skymaster raders.
in disc, you a compacting all the radar modules into one disc. It pretty much has 360 degree coverage, because the disc is ciruclar.
with the beam, only the ends of the beam do scan. Normally, you get 120 degree of scan on both side, so you don't get the full 360 degree coverage. I'm not sure about this, but maybe you can fit more modules into the beam, so it gives better performance than the conventional disc shaped radar?
As for plaaf AWACS, it's kind of interesting to see all the different types of AWACS coming out:
1. there will be at least 4 KJ-2000 soon. Most people speculate 20 as the final count of KJ-2000, so we will need to buy a few more IL-76 for that.
2. the skymaster Y-8 AEW are pretty weak and they are just limited to 6-8 of them. I don't know how useful they can be really.
3. the balance beam Y-8 can form the hi-lo combination of AWACS with KJ-2000. It's interesting, the stats of Erieye Hawkeye seem to really overwhelm those of the conventional AWACS like Phalcon or E-3 or A50I. If Y-8 can achieve anywhere close to that, it would be great.
4. the disc Y-8 AWACS is probably just built because IL-76 are too expensive to purchase in great numbers.
the balance beam only gives you a 180 scan at max, so you normally field two. the disk is actually quite unique, using triangular configuration of the ESA modules to provied 360. most western radars use rotodomes.
perhaps the plaaf will buy more skymasters. they were bought in the 90s, and the excuse would be "drug trafficing". worked for venezuela, works for china.