China is set to unveil its J-16D electronic warfare aircraft at Airshow China event in Zhuhai next week that is intended to perform similar missions as the Boeing EA-18G Growler in service with the U.S. air force.
The J-16D is reported to be part an aircraft fleet flown near the Taiwan Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) on Sept 5, according to Taiwan News. The first time “incursion” by the Chinese electronic warfare aircraft is reported to have caused quite a flutter among Taiwan’s defenses.
A J-16D aircraft landed in Zhuhai, South China's Guangdong Province on Tuesday in preparation for its debut at the Airshow China, to be held from September 28 to October 3 in the city, China Central Television (CCTV) reported.
The J-16D has two large electronic warfare pods on the aircraft's wings, which release electro-magnetic waves to disrupt and jam hostile electronic equipment, including radar and communications systems. The J-16 is China’s clone of the American F-16 though Beijing denies copycat claims.
The J-16D is equipped with a new avionics system and domestically made engines. Electronic attack equipment on the aircraft is said to be of domestic origin. It has undergone significant structural changes, Global Times reported quoting local experts.
Electronic warfare aircraft accompany other warplanes jamming the radars of air defense systems and also that of enemy early warning aircraft.
U.S. Navy’s EA-18G Growler warplanes have been part of American flotillas conducting ‘freedom of navigation’ exercises in the South China Sea which Beijing claims as its own. Besides, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has some 11 Growler aircraft which should add to China’s worries.