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SOURCE:  DEEPAK HILORI/ FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG

At China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition the biggest airshow in Asia, the Chinese showcased J-16D an electronic warfare jet that was built on the unlicensed copy of the Russian Su-27K platform that has now been equipped with signal jammers to cripple enemies anti-air defense system and help other attacking jets to target radars, missile systems, and wireless communications systems.

J-16D after Boeing EA-18G Growler will be the second active advanced airborne electronic attack (AEA) platform that is capable of disrupting, deceiving, or denying a broad range of military electronic systems including radars and communications. J-16D seems to be fitted with additional avionics, enhanced radio frequency receivers, an improved communications suite, and ALQ radio-frequency jamming pods which enable it to jam enemy systems.

J-16D was seen equipped with four jamming pods under its wings and air inlets as well as two anti-radiation missiles under its belly, In addition to two electronic warfare pods on the wingtips. J-16D will come as a boost to the electronic warfare capability of the PLAAF and boot its systematic combat capacity.

Not so long ago many in India had talked about converting Su-30MKI platforms into dedicated electronic warfare jets due to the increasing build of capabilities of the enemies in jamming communication links and other systems in conflict zone due to which some thought was given on such development also at the Indian Air Force top brass but as usual, things did not materialize over lack of homegrown tech for converting Su-30MKI into EW variants. EW variants require complete rework on the internal wiring including bigger APUs and other Power distribution station for massive power requirement that is required to power multiple pods along with AESA Fire control radar that can all work together without interfering with each other for which multiple pods have to be from one country either from India or Russia to avoid system interfering with each other and cancelling each others signals.

HAL had proposed developing Tejas based electronic warfare jets but officially there are no plans to convert them into dedicated EW jets nor IAF has concrete plans as such for time being due to power requirements that are often required to power multiple EW and Jamming Pods in the jets due to which Twin-Engine jets are often preferred jets that had made Su-30MKI a preferred candidate due to local production line that now lies vacant.

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