Tuesday, December 29, 2015

J-16D Electronic Warfare Variant Makes First Flight

A possible new electronic warfare (EW) variant of the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (SAC) J-16 twin-seat strike fighter made its first flight on 18 December, according to Chinese sources, potentially adding a significant offensive capability to the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF).

Images of the new variant have emerged on several Chinese military web pages, including a 21 December 2015 video report on the popular Ifeng web page. The most salient modifications are two new wingtip pods similar to the Northrop Grumman AN/ALQ-218 Tactical Jamming Receiver, leading to comparisons with the E/A-18G Growler electronic attack variant of Boeing's Super Hornet.

This possible J-16 EW prototype appears to lack the usual fuselage-mounted gun and the infrared search and tracking system (IRST) also appears to be missing, but the J-16, which resembles the Russian Sukhoi Su-30, would have up to 10 wing and fuselage hardpoints for ordnance and active jamming pods.

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