The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy’s South China Sea Fleet deployed a new type of electronic warfare aircraft – the H-6G bomber – in its recent combat maneuvers. The aircraft is equipped with two electronic countermeasures (ECM) pods underneath its wings, allowing it to be used to degrade the effectiveness of enemy radar and radio systems using electronic jamming, suppression and anti-radiation. In addition to the H-6G, other PLA fighter jets, including the JH-7 bomber, have been equipped with similar ECM pods to improve the army’s combat capability.
“The upgrade of H-6G has extended the aircraft’s fighting range, which can now cover basically the whole South China Sea, as well as waters in the southeastern part of Taiwan,” an anonymous military expert reported.
ECMs are electronic devices designed to trick or deceive radar, sonar or other detection systems, such as infrared (IR) or lasers. They can be used both offensively and defensively to deny targeting information to an enemy. The system can make many separate targets appear to the enemy, or make the real target appear to disappear or move about randomly. They are also used to protect aircraft from guided missiles.
“The main role of the electronic fighters is to obstruct the enemies’ electronic jamming devices – for example, radar, to temporarily or permanently, if powerful enough, cover the surveillance devices and to hide our combat platforms’ track,” Song Zhongping, a military expert and TV commentator stated. “The H-6G electronic warfare aircraft boasts of high electronic jamming power and can cover relatively bigger combat areas such as the South China Sea and East China Sea.”