China has used the recent ‘Aviadarts’ international aerial competition to reveal for the first time that its Chengdu Aircraft Corporation (CAC) J-10B can be equipped to perform suppression of enemy air defences (SEAD) missions, adding to the number of People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) combat aircraft able to perform this mission.
Images of the SEAD-equipped J-10B first appeared on Chinese web pages on 10 August as part of a ground display at Changchun Airbase in Jilin Province, occurring at the end of the Aviadarts competition, part of the larger 2017 International Army Games held from 29 July to 12 August.
For the SEAD mission the J-10B was revealed to carry two Hongdu Aviation Industries YJ-91 anti-radiation missiles (ARMs). The YJ-91 was developed from the Russian Tactical Missile CorporationKh-31 family of ramjet-powered ARM and anti-ship missiles that were first seen in China in the early 2000s. The YJ-91 reportedly requires a separate guidance system pod, which was seen mounted on a fuselage pylon of the J-10B.
As early as 2009 indications emerged that the YJ-91 also could equip the earlier J-10A. However, this version has not been seen with the Southwest Institute of Electronics Equipment (SWIEE) K/RKL007A electronic support measures/electronic countermeasures (ESM/ECM) pod seen under the J-10B. This pod possibly enables or enhances the J-10B’s ability to autonomously attack electronic targets.
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