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Japan photographs Y-9 communications countermeasures aircraft

Information provided by the Taiwanese and Japanese governments shows that the Chinese People's Liberation Army operated two SAIC Y-9 communications countermeasures aircraft in the Taiwan air defence identification zone on 8 June 2023. The aircraft subsequently operated south of the Japan ADIZ. (Taiwan MND/Japan MoD/Janes)

A new special mission aircraft of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) has been identified after the aircraft flew into Japan's air defence identification zone (ADIZ) on 8 June.

The Japanese Ministry of Defense (MoD) released an image of the aircraft on 9 June. Janes has identified the new aircraft as a Shaanxi Aircraft Industry Corporation (SAIC) Y-9 DZ aircraft. The aircraft potentially has the Chinese designation of GX-12. The aircraft is very likely a multimission electronic warfare-electronic intelligence (EW-ELINT) aircraft.

“The Y-9 intelligence-gathering aircraft of China in question is different from the Y-9 intelligence-gathering aircraft that we have confirmed so far [during] anti-airspace intrusion measures,” the Japanese MoD said. “This is the first time that we have confirmed this aircraft.”

The Taiwan Ministry of National Defense (MND) earlier identified this particular variant as a “communications countermeasures” (CC) aircraft. Taipei monitored two Y-9 CCs as they flew into Taiwan's ADIZ on 8 June 2023. The MND recorded 37 PLA aircraft intrusions into the ADIZ on this date. Taiwan continued to monitor the aircraft as it exited its ADIZ and flew towards Japan's ADIZ over the Philippine Sea. The Japanese MoD recorded the aircraft as it flew in a circuit over the sea, 230–300 km southwest of Taketomi Island, according to MoD data.

Information released by Japan indicates that the Y-9 CC did not enter the Japan ADIZ.

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