In early 1995 the PLAAF was reported to have modified a pair of Tu-154M "Careless" transports into experimental electronic warfare (EW) platforms by adding radomes and antennae to provide a basic EW capability. Both aircraft are based at Nan Yuan airfield, south of Beijing.
Another Tu-154M is apparently involved in research for the development of Synthetic Aperture Radar [SAR] systems that can be used in a similar fashion to the US JSTARS. For the PLA, this and future SAR aircraft could help to manage military operations over Taiwan and to find critical targets for air and missile strikes. China United Airlines aircraft B-4138, a Russian-made TU-154M three-engine airliner, is painted in the colors of the government-owned airline and flies under an international civilian number as a passenger plane. The markings on B-4138 include large black block letters and a CUA symbol on the tail.
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