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With H-6G Bomber, China Gears Up to Win Informationised Local Wars
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Dr Amrita Jash | Date:02 Feb , 2018 0 Comments
Dr Amrita Jash
is Associate Fellow, Centre for Land Warfare Studies, New Delhi.

China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) has recently deployed an H-6G electronic warfare aircraft, which is capable of high electronic jamming power and can cover relatively bigger combat areas such as the South China Sea and East China Sea. This marks a significant addition to China’s existing military composition given its electronic countermeasure capabilities in combat missions. More specifically, as noted, the aircraft’s main role is:

“[T]o 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”.[1]

The query is- How does this new electronic warfare aircraft play a significant role in PLA’s composition and capability?

To note, under Chinese President Xi Jinping, PLA’s military reforms as outlined in the Third Plenum of the 18th Party Congress emphasised on the need for increasing the armed forces ability to carry out joint operations on a modern high-tech battlefield. It is primarily aimed at the twin objectives- to improve the armed forces combat capabilities and the readiness for war. In doing so, as the 2015 White Paper onChinese Military Strategy notes: The PLA Army “will continue to reorient from theater defense to trans-theater mobility”; The PLA Navy “will gradually shift its focus from ‘offshore waters defense’ to the combination of ‘offshore waters defense’ and ‘open seas protection’” and; the PLA Air Force “will endeavor to shift its focus from territorial air defense to both defense and offense”.[2] This operational framework is further driven by the logic, as Xi categorically stated:

“The capability to win is strategically important in safeguarding national security, and strengthening that capability and combat readiness in the new era would provide strategic support to the realization of the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation”.[3] 

Given this objective in mind, the primary military goals are: “[to build] a strong military”, focus on “core security needs”, build an “informationized military” and win “informationized wars”, “deepen the reform of national defense and the armed forces”, “build a modern system of military forces with Chinese characteristics”, and “enhance their capabilities” to address security threats and accomplish “diversified military tasks”.[4]

In this perspective, the rationale behind China’s deployment of the new electronic warfare aircraft can be understood under a ‘fight and win’ policy. This can be explained under a three-way framework:

First, China’s such military preparedness is primarily driven by the core objective to “win informationised local wars” (信息化條件下的局部戰), which acts as the basic point for preparation for military struggle (PMS). As the 2015 White Paper on put forward:

“In line with the evolving form of war and national security situation, the basic point for PMS will be placed on winning informationized local wars, highlighting maritime military struggle and maritime PMS. The armed forces will work to effectively control major crises, properly handle possible chain reactions, and firmly safeguard the country’s territorial sovereignty, integrity and security”.[5]

In view of this, the H-6G bomber significantly adds to China’s information warfare force, which is central to PLA’s “active defence” strategic concept.

Secondly, such advanced capabilities are aimed at increasing the PLA’s ability to carry out joint operations on a modern high-tech battlefield. This is primarily guided by PLA’s need to meet the criterion of ‘combat capability’. Wherein, the objective, as Xi Jinping stated is to develop-

“[an] intelligent military, and improve combat capabilities for joint operations based on network information system and the ability to fight under multi-dimensional conditions”.[6]

In this perspective, the H-6G bomber with its electronic jamming, suppression and anti-radiation capabilities can significantly enhance China’s combat missions.

And lastly, to fulfill the Chinese Dream of a ‘strong army’ as Beijing believes that “[w]ithout a strong military, a country can be neither safe nor strong”.[7] This is guided by China’s military mission that aims at two central goals- first, by 2035 the modernisation of China’s national defence and armed forces to be “basically completed” and second, by the mid-21st century (2050) the armed forces to be “fully transformed into world-class forces”.[8]

Under this framework of analysis, it can be rightly stated that China’s military preparedness is rapidly shifting towards building its combat capabilities under joint operational conditions. Wherein, the aim is to fight and win under all theatres of war, which has now shifted towards the information domain as the new battlefield of modern warfare. It remains indisputable, that China’s quest for military capabilities is primarily aimed at “winning informationised local wars”.


[1]Deng Xiaoci, “PLA Navy deploys “new type of electronic warfare aircraft””, Global Times, 21 January 2018, URL:

[2]The State Council of the People’s Republic of China, “China’s Military Strategy”, 27 May 2015, URL

[3]“Xi instructs army to improve its combat readiness”, Xinhuanet, 04 Novemebr 2017, URL:

[4] The State Council of the People’s Republic of China, “China’s Military Strategy”.

[5] Ibid.

[6]“China to build world-class armed forces by mid-21st century”, China Daily, 18 October 2017, URL:

[7] Ibid.

[8] China Military, “Full Text of Xi Jinping’s Report at the 19th CPC National Congress”, Xinhuanet, 18 October 2017, pp. 48, URL:


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