Images have emerged of a possible new Chinese anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft based on the Shaanxi Y-8 transport.
Hosted on Chinese defence websites, the pictures show the four-engined turboprop with a large radome under its nose and with weapon bay doors in the open position. Most significantly, they also show a long appendage from the aircraft's tail, which could house a magnetic anomaly detector (MAD) - an essential sensor for detecting submarines.
China is believed to operate an aircraft known as the Y-8X in the ASW role, but purported images of this aircraft show that it lacks a MAD boom.
An effective ASW capability would greatly augment China's access denial strategy. Potential foes such as the USA and Japan operate sophisticated submarine forces, which would play a vital role in any future conflict.