The CSA-003 “Scout” is China’s latest Electronic Intelligence (ELINT) aircraft. Built by the China Electronic Technology Corporation’s Avionics division, “the CSA-003 is a family of special mission aircraft that include maritime patrol and oil spill response,” according to Popular Science blog.
The plane is manned by no more than two pilots and one sensor operator. It can work with satellite links and with ground control support group.
— 紅龍崛起…RedDragon1949 (@RedDragon1949) March 14, 2016
The plane is able to obtain data on electronic activities surrounding communications, weapons, and radar using the so-called Digital ELINT system and signal processing suite. It can also be used for border control.
All that hi-tec equipment is carried in a pod under the fuselage in the sensor payload.
“In addition to collecting intelligence on potential enemies’ electronic activity, in a battlefield situation, it enables electronic and cyber attacks against enemy electronics through pinpointing their location and vulnerabilities,” the blog says.
— SINDOnews (@SINDOnews) March 17, 2016
Weather is no hindrance to the aircraft. The plane can detect enemy forces including infantry in any weather conditions through a specially installed electro optical/infrared sensor turret.
In January, Chinese military revealed that Beijing planned on creating a new People’s Liberation Army cyber force to counter the US military cyber forces. Col. Li, identified as deputy director of the NDU’s Center for Cyberspace Security, said the measure was a necessary, since, according to him, Pentagon had been boosting its cyberattack capabilities.
Both countries have repeatedly accused each other of carrying out cyber-espionage attacks.