Dubbed the “Scout” Electronic Reconnaissance Aircraft CSA-003, the new aircraft is built by the China Electronic Technology Corporation Avionics division, and is a form of special mission aircraft typically used for maritime patrol and oil spill response.
A variant of the Austrian-designed Diamond DA42 utility plane, the 1.7 ton aircraft features twin turboprop engines and can carry one or two pilots as well as a sensor operator. To carry out surveillance, the CSA-003 comes equipped with the latest Electronic Intelligence (ELINT) equipment and a state-of-the-art processing suite, all of which is housed in a pod beneath the fuselage.
The plane can detect, track, and analyze enemy electronics, including radar, weapons guidance, and communication systems.
The CSA-003 has the optional capability of including an electro optical/infrared sensor turret.
While the plane can operate independently, it can also use satellite connections to coordinate electronic attacks with multiple units, including the Y-9 aircraft and configured ground stations.
Given that the Diamond DA42 is subject to EU arms restrictions, analysts predict that the CSA-003 will most likely be used for border patrols.