China to present new electronic attack jet
MELBOURNE, Australia – China is set to present its dedicated electronic attack aircraft to the public at the upcoming Zhuhai Airshow, giving observers a first glimpse of the newly developed type.
Only one of the type, officially designated Shenyang J-16D, was parked in the air show static exhibition area in Guangdong Province ahead of the event, which is scheduled to take place from September 28 to October 3. at the city airport.
The two-seater J-16D is based on the J-16 multirole fighter, which itself is a development of the J-11B interceptor and the Russian Sukhoi Su-30MK series, both of which can trace their lineage back to Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker interceptor.
China acquired the Su-30MKK and Su-30MK2 for the People’s Liberation Army Air Force, or PLAAF, and the People’s Liberation Army Navy, PLAN, respectively. Some 70 examples of the two types, acquired between 1996 and 2002, are said to be still in service.
Images of the J-16D taken on the ground and posted online show that it has notable differences from the standard J-16, the most important of which are a pair of pods mounted on its wing tips.
These are believed to perform a similar function to that of the Northrop-Grumman AN / ALQ-218 on the US Navy’s Boeing EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft, which is a passive sensor system for intelligence on high performance signals used to detect, identify, locate and analyze sources of radio frequency emissions.
Other distinctive differences from the J-16 include a noticeably shorter nose radome suggesting that a smaller radar was installed, as well as the absence of a cannon mounted on the right side of the fuselage and the removal of a infrared search and tracking system. on the front of the canopy.
Zhuhai’s J-16D has the number 0109 stenciled on the side of its engine intakes, indicating that it is the ninth aircraft from the first production batch. He wears faded PLAAF markings but no number on his tail, making it impossible to identify the unit to which he was assigned.
The aircraft was also subsequently airshow-equipped with four of what appear to be at least three distinct types of remote jamming pods on external loading points under the engine air intakes and wings. .
None of these locally developed modules have been seen before with their designation and their differences unknown, although it is likely that they serve to scramble different bands of the electronic spectrum.
A spokesperson for the Chinese Defense Ministry confirmed that other new types of aircraft will debut at this year’s show, which has been delayed from its original November 2020 date due to the pandemic.
Other newbies will include the WZ-7 high-altitude unmanned jet aircraft, while the Chinese J-20 stealth fighter will also make an appearance.