29 December 2015

China Builds Its Own "Wild Weasel" To Suppress Air Defenses

Article re posted from http://www.popsci.com/china-builds-its-own-wild-weasel-to-suppress-air-defenses

J-16D Electronic Warfare China Wild Weasel EW

ifeng

J-16D

Using the J-16/Su-30 airframe, the J-16D deletes some air to air combat gear for cramming in electronic attack equipment that includes electronic intelligence pods.

While China's Anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) operations rely on heavy air defenses, Chinese air force planners may also have to account for enemy surface to air missiles, all the more with Taiwan and Japan embarking on a new build up of missile shields. In December, one of the responses was revealed, the Shenyang J-16D.

J-16D Electronic Warfare China Wild Weasel EW

Wingtips

The J-16D's wingtips have built in electronic intelligence pods, which intercept enemy electronic signals like radar transmissions, for processing in the fighter's computers, which then tell the J-16D's jammers how to scramble, confuse and block enemy usage of the electromagnetic spectrum.

The J-16D is a J-16/Su-30 multirole fighter optimized for "Wild Weasel" missions. Starting in the Vietnam War, Wild Weasels are fighters optimized to take on surface to air missile batteries in a SEAD (Supression of Enemy Air Defense) role. Armed with anti-radiation missiles (which lock on and target radars by their electronic emissions) and electronic intelligence and electronic warfare jammers, they are designed to engage and suppress defenses, opening the way for traditional air attacks.

J-16D Electronic Warfare China Wild Weasel EW

Andreas Rupprecht

Electronic Flanker

This comparision of the J-16D to the baseline J-16, done by noted aviation journalist Andreas Rupprecht, shows that the J-16D has removed its IRST sensor and 30mm cannon, as well as installing addition antennas.

Compared to the baseline J-16, the J-16D has removed its Infrared Search Tracking (IRST) sensor and 30mm cannon to accommodate more electronics inside its fuselage. It also has several antennas mounted around its fuselage. The J-16D also two large ELINT pods on its wingtips, similar to those on the E/A-18 Growler, to collect enemy radar and electronic activity. Additionally, the J-16D has smaller radome, likely to include an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar optimized for electronic warfare, including signals collection and jamming. The J-16D will be fitted with large AESA jamming pods, a development of current jammers on JH-7A attack aircraft; its attack ability will come from YJ-91, LD-10 and other anti-radiation missiles.


JH-7 China Electronic Warfare Jamming

Chinese Military Aviation

EW JH-7

The Xian JH-7 is China's first generation twin seat strike fighter (a role now being taken over by the J-16). The JH-7 and JH-7A can carry two large electronic warfare jamming pods under their wings to jam enemy missiles and radar. The more capable J-16D will also carry such large pods (though upgraded with technology like AESA elements) as it flies alongside J-16 and other Chinese fighters.

The J-16D provides Chinese aerial operations with a fast, maneuverable and long range EW and Wild Weasel platform that can protect Chinese fighters and bombers like the J-10, J-11, J-15, J-20, J-31 and H-6K bomber. This will be an important requirement in combat operations in increasingly militarized areas like the Taiwan Straits and South China Seas. In combat operations, the J-16 would first use its jammers to disrupt the target and fire control of enemy air defenses, before firing its long range anti-radiation missiles, which are equally deadly against both mobile and fixed air defenses. As a fighter, it can still take part in aerial combat in self defense and to protect other aircraft against enemy fighters.


CM-102 China anti-radiation missile

Sinodefence Forum

CM-102

The CM-102 anti-radiation missile, first seen here at the 2014 Zhuhai Air Show, is a supersonic, 100km range air launched missile with an anti-radiation warhead that homes in on the electronic activity of enemy transmitters like radars. The CM-102 is one of the many attack options for the J-16 to destroy enemy radars and other electronic equipment as part of its Wild Weasel mission.

China's increasingly ability to protect its power projection capabilities shows that its advances in military technology are just as much focused on taking action aboard to advance its interests, as opposed to the A2AD narrative of hunkering down against enemy threats. And, much as the US plan for F-35/22, Chinese Wild Weasel capabilities can be expected to migrate to fifth generation stealth fighters, carrier aircraft and drones large and small.

You may also be interested in:

The J-11D Surprise: China upgrades Russian Flanker Fighters on Its Own

The Missiles of Zhuhai: China Displays New Strike Arsenal

Chinese Air Force Takes Delivery of New J-16 Strike Fighters

A New Chinese Spy Plane for all Seasons

New Chinese Spy Ship, Coming soon to a U.S. Naval Exercise?



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