Their use includes electronic attack, jamming and counter measures, providing targeting info, airborne command, electronic/signal intelligence, early warning, anti submarine warfare and psychological warfare.
All use the Y-8 manufactured by Shaanxi, which in turn is based on the Antonov AN-12. The GX5 and GX6 also use the improved Category 3 platform.
Included, although not in use by the Chinese armed forces, is the ZDK-03, which is a modified version of the GX5 with a rotodome developed for the Pakistani armed forces.
The Category 3 platform is also used for the new Y-9.
Specifications of the baseline Y-8
Payload: 20,000 kg
Wing area: 121.9m²
Empty weight: 35,490kg
Useful load: 20,000kg
Max. takeoff weight: 61,000kg
Powerplant: 4 × Zhuzhou WoJiang-6 (WJ-6) turboprops, 3,170kW (4,250hp) each
Maximum speed: 660km/h
Cruise speed: 550km/h
Service ceiling: 10,400m
Rate of climb: 10m/s
Y-8 GX1: electronic attack, jamming and counter measures aircraft
Y-8 GX2: maritime targeting aircraft
Y-8 GX3: airborne command post
Y-8 GX4: ELINT aircraft
Y-8 GX5: AWACS aircraft
Y8 GX6: ASW aircraft
Y8 GX7: psychological warfare aircraft
Photos credit original posters, via Chinese Internet