UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


H-6G ECM Variant

The People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy's South China Sea Fleet deployed a "new type of electronic warfare aircraft" in its recent combat maneuvers, a move to greatly enhance the navy's capabilities in modern warfare to safeguard the country's sea rights, said Chinese military experts. The new aircraft is the H-6G bomber developed over a period of 10 years with the Electronic Countermeasures (ECM) pods being equipped underneath its wings. It was the first time the bomber played "a supporting role in the electronic warfare," according to Military Time, a China Central Television CCTV military program on 20 January 2018.

The modified H-6G fitted with ECM pods can engage in combat missions using electronic jamming, suppression, and anti-radiation, the program said. "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, told the Global Times.

Song added that "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."

China has developed advanced and standardized ECM pods to modify multiple types of fighter jets for such combat requirements, such as the J-15 type fighter jets. Using the ECM pods in fighters is the most efficient and effective way, Song noted. China's JH-7 fighter bomber was also seen carrying such ECM pods in previous PLA Air Force military practices, according to CCTV. China's PLA Navy deploys such EMC pods carrying aircraft together with its warships and other combat vessels for electronic combat missions and to enhance combat capabilities, Song said.

This new variant was first revealed at the 2002 Zhuhai Airshow in an AVIC I promotional video. It is capable of carrying 4 YJ-83K AShMs under its wings. Beijing media introduction the H-6G as the new H-6 retrofit serving since 2004, with over-the-horizon targetting to sea targets, with precision attack capability to the ground. It was estimated that the H-6G loaded carried 9 tons, as the normal take-off weight of "China Badger" was 72 tons.

By 2010 the H-6G had entered service with PLA Naval Aviation, replacing the earlier H-6Ds. Other sources less certainly had associated the H-6G nomenclature with a variant that would provide targeting data to ground-launched cruise missiles, analogous to the Tu-95RTs Bear D in role. Few details were available for this variant, other than reports that it lacks internal bomb bay and defensive armament. The targeting support variant was said to have been built in the 1990s, which is inconsistent with the pause in H-6 production between roughly 1990 and 2006.

Later developments of the H-6 continued to focus on cruise-missile armament, including the 90s-era H-6H, designed to launch two land-attack cruise missiles, the H-6G, intended to provide targeting data for ground-launched cruise missiles, and the H-6M missile carrier variant, which can lug four YJ-81 or KD-88 cruise missiles on exterior wing pylons.

On 03 March 2017, the CCTV military channel announced a PLA exercise picture showing that China dispatched naval air force Su-30MKK2 fighters, H-6G bombers, Y-8 alert aircraft, 052C / D destroyers, 054A frigate, 903 Comprehensive supply ship participating. According to CCTV military channel reports, the exercise consisted of a far-field training formation composed of the South China Sea Fleet 052C / D destroyer and the 903-type comprehensive supply ship as the imaginary enemy of the Blues and attempted to covertly enter the East China Sea to harass important Red Sea targets. The Red Army relied on a long-range reconnaissance and warning system and utilized air force's air strikes against the Blue Army's surface ships. The whole process of the exercise was "back-to-back", and both the red and blue commanders organized sea assault and air defense on their own.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list

Page last modified: 24-01-2018 19:17:09 ZULU