Jianjiji Hongzhaji-7A (Fighter-Bomber aircraft 7A)- JH-7A “Growler”
There were a number of reports by Chinese sources suggesting that the JH-7A has been selected to perform an Electronic Attack (EA) role similar to Boeing’s EA-18G Growler which was confirmed by recent CCTV photos. The JH-7A is perfect for the Growler role: it has a twin-engine and a weapon systems officer (WSO) in an elevated rear tandem seat; a large external store load of 6500 kg; a long ferry range of 3650 km, and more importantly, a domestic airframe and electronics suite that can be modified at will.
The JH-7A, like other EA aircraft in service elsewhere, has highly classified capabilities and operations, but judging from different types of EA Pods known to be available, the JH-7A can adjust its mission to perform multiple EA roles. Having a dedicated growler in an escort role will surely enhance any PLAN maritime strike package. (Search your local Craigslist for this hot new escort service!)
Photo of a JH-7A from PLA Naval Air Force 16th Fighter-Bomber Regiment, 6th Naval Air Division (Shanghai) with a pair of EA pods.
Other JH-7A EA photos and CCTV captures.