JH-7 JAM SESSION: It looks like the “Flying Leopard” is taking on a new role as escort jammer. It is well-known that China has taken note of other nations who have used electronic warfare to even the playing field against an adversary’s superior fighter force or to gain access to highly defended regions (see Indian MiG-21 Bisons surprising F-15C Eagle Drivers during Cope India as well as Israel’s creative use of electronic attack and electronic warfare to sneak by enemy air defenses) and has begun to make large progress in the field. The pods mounted on this two seat JH-7 are reminiscent of the ALQ-184 and ELL-8212/22 pods in service with the USAF, although their exact capability remains unknown. Additionally the pods are different on each side, one sporting large aerials and the other having additional downward facing “apertures.” The JH-7 is an interesting but relevant choice for this mission as they represent the aging side of the PLAAF and have fairly good range.
THE J-20 SPORTS TELEMETRY DECALS: Dare I say that the J-20 is actually in the process, or is about to be in the process of weapons testing? The telemetry decals placed around its weapons bays are fairly certain sign that this is indeed the case. Keep in mind that this does not mean the aircraft is progressing quickly as a pre-production fighter, remember the YF-22 fired air to air missiles during its lightning quick (excuse the pun) fly-off against the YF-23, a feat the was impressive to USAF evaluators and helped it win the Advanced Tactical Fighter competition.