*Beijing: *China has built a new type of electronic warfare aircraft which can cover bigger combat areas such as the South and East China seas and greatly enhance the Navy's capabilities in modern warfare, a media report said today.
The People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy's South China Sea Fleet deployed the H-6G bomber in its recent combat manoeuvres.
The aircraft developed for 10 years in service is equipped with the Electronic Countermeasures (ECM) pods underneath its wings.
It was the first time the bomber played "a supporting role in the electronic warfare", China Central Television (CCTV) reported last week.
The modified H-6G fitted with ECM pods can engage in combat missions using electronic jamming, suppression and anti-radiation, it said.
"The main role of the electronic fighters is to obstruct the enemies' electronic jamming devices - for example, radar, to temporarily or permanently, if powerful enough, cover the surveillance devices and to hide our combat platforms' track," Song Zhongping, a military expert and TV commentator, told the state-run Global Times.
China has developed advanced and standardised ECM pods to modify multiple types of fighter jets for combat requirements, such as the J-15 type fighter jets. Using the ECM pods in fighters is the most efficient and effective way, Song said.
China 's JH-7 fighter bomber was also seen carrying such ECM pods in previous PLA Air Force military practices, according to CCTV.
China 's PLA Navy deploys such EMC pods carrying aircraft together with its warships and other combat vessels for electronic combat missions and to enhance combat capabilities, Song said.
China is engaged in hotly contested territorial disputes in both the South China Sea and the East China Sea. Beijing has built up and militarised many of the islands and reefs it controls in the region.
Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have counter claims over the South China Sea.
Both areas are stated to be rich in minerals, oil and other natural resources. They are also vital to global trade.