The Japan Air Self-Defense Force jets were scrambled to escort Chinese Shaanxi Y-9JB electronic warfare and surveillance aircraft on August 29, the Japanese Ministry of Defense announced in a statement.
According to the Japanese Ministry of Defense’s (MoD) statement, Chinese Shaanxi Y-9JB Chinese surveillance aircraft, otherwise known as GX-8 electronic intelligence (ELINT) gathering aircraft, skirted the islands of Tsushima crossing the Sea of Japan and East China Sea.
The Y-9JB (GX-8) aircraft is an upgraded variant of the Y-8DZ and Y-8G electronic reconnaissance aircraft.
The Y-9JB is based on the airframe of the Y-9 transport aircraft. The design incorporates high-mounted wings with drooping outer wing panels. The aircraft is recognisably different from the baseline transport aircraft in that it has several appendages and other fairings attached to its upper and side fuselage, and atop the tail.
The Y-9JB aircraft is equipped to monitor communications traffic and radar emissions. Also, the Chinese spy plane was fitted with improved cabin pressurization for operations in higher altitudes and has also been equipped with upgraded electronic systems, including new fairings and antennas.
According to the airrecognition.com, in its tactical transport variant, the Y-9 has a payload of 25,000 Kg a range of 5,700 km (3,700 nm) and a ceiling of 10,400 m (34,120 ft). Originally known as the Y-8X project, the development of Y-9 began in 2001 to produce a C-130J class transport to replace the older Y-8. The first flight occured at the end of 2010.