[Editor’s Note: As you all are well aware, FighterSweep has very strong ties to the community responsible for the suppression and destruction of enemy air defenses–the Wild Weasel mission. Understandably, this story caught our attention, and it will be interesting to see how their program fares. YGBSM!]
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 buildup of missile shields. In December, one of the responses was revealed: the Shenyang J-16D.
The J-16D is a J-16/Su-30 multi-role fighter optimized for “Wild Weasel” missions. Starting in the Vietnam War, Wild Weasels are fighters designed 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.
Compared to the baseline J-16, the J-16D has removed its Infrared Search Tracking 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.
The original article from Popular Science can be found here.
(Featured photo courtesy of Popular Science)