The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) recently sent electronic intelligence (ELINT) aircraft to conduct long-range training over the Yellow and East China Seas, China Daily reported Monday citing the country’s military.
The exercise saw the aircraft use a route they had not flown before, according to an Air Force news release quoting Senior Colonel Shen Jinke, spokesman for the PLAAF.
In addition to the reconnaissance planes, the Air Force also dispatched fighter jets, early-warning aircraft and air-defense missile units, Shen said from an unidentified air base in northern China. No further details were provided.
Although the Air Force did not elaborate on the type of electronic intelligence aircraft used, it published a picture with the release that showed a Tupolev Tu-154MD electronic warfare (EW) jet taking off. Chinese Air Force operates seven Tu-154MDs.
Chinese Tu-154MD ELINT aircraft carry a large-size synthetic aperture radar (SAR) under their mainframe.
Tupolev Tu-154 (Russian: Tyполев Ту-154; NATO reporting name: Careless) is a three-engine medium-range narrow-bodyairliner designed in the mid-1960s and manufactured by Tupolev.
The Tu-154M and Tu-154M Lux are the most highly upgraded versions, which first flew in 1982 and entered mass production in 1984. It uses more fuel-efficient Soloviev D-30KU-154 turbofans.