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PL-1 / AA-1
PL-2 / AA-2
PL-3 / AA-2
PL-5 / AA-2

China Air-to-Air Missiles

PL-1 / AA-1
PL-2 / AA-2
PL-3 / AA-2
PL-5 / AA-2
PL-10 / FD-60
PL-11 / AMR-1
PL-12 / SD-10
PL-14 ?
PL-16 / CM-102
PL-17 ??
PL-18 skipped?
PL-19 skipped?
PL-90 / TY-90
PL means Thunderbolt, and all air-to-air missiles produced by China are called Thunderbolt [Pili = Thunderbolt, or Pen Lung = Air Dragon]. Westerners knew almost nothing about the development history of China's air-to-air missiles. Therefore, Western reports on China's air-to-air missiles are often extremely inaccurate. After the founding of New China, the development of China's air-to-air missiles can be said to have started from zero. After decades of development, China's air-to-air missiles have been among the advanced ranks in the world.

One of the main weapons of fighter planes is also used as an air combat weapon for fighter bombers, attack planes, and helicopters. In addition, in theory, it can also be used as a self-defense weapon for military aircraft such as tankers and early warning aircraft. Air-to-air missiles are composed of guidance devices, warheads, fuzes, power devices, missile bodies and wings. It forms an air-to-air missile weapon system with airborne fire control, launchers and test equipment.

The fighter units of the Chinese Air Force and the Navy Air Force are the core forces to ensure homeland air defense and to compete for air superiority in the theater. The performance of Chinese air-to-air missiles is directly related to the actual effectiveness of Chinese fighter aircraft in performing combat missions. Only fighter aircraft equipped with advanced air-to-air missiles Only if you really have the ability to fight against strong players. The air-to-air missiles currently equipped by Chinese fighters include not only imitation and domestically developed models, but also foreign high-performance air-to-air missiles imported with the introduction of aircraft.

Air battles between opposing aircraft in a single plane or formation is known as air combat. It is one of the combat operation styles in which fighter aviation destroys enemy aircraft and other aircraft, and seizes and maintains air superiority. According to the combat strength, it is divided into single-air combat and formation air combat; according to flight altitude, it is divided into low-altitude, ultra-low-altitude air combat, mid-air combat, high-altitude, and ultra-high-altitude air combat; According to the attack distance, it is divided into close air combat and medium and long range air combat; according to time, it is divided into day air combat and night air combat.

Air combat is usually carried out between fighters and fighters, sometimes between fighters and other aircraft or between attack helicopters. Fighter air combat is usually an active offensive. Bombers, assault planes, reconnaissance planes and other types of aircraft and fighters are usually in defensive maneuvers in air combat, and at the same time actively use self-defense in combination with firepower and electronic interference.

Fighter air combat usually includes the stages of search, enemy engagement, attack, and exit combat. Searching refers to entering a war zone, under the guidance of the ground or air command post, using airborne equipment or visual, to find and identify air targets for maneuvering flights. Engagement is a maneuvering flight to occupy a favorable starting position of an attack, usually from finding a target to occupying a good starting position. The attack is to directly destroy the enemy aircraft with firepower. It is the decisive phase of air combat. It usually starts from entering the starting position of the attack, including tracking and shooting and shooting until the exit of the attack. Exiting combat is the end phase of air combat, which refers to the transition from the end of an attack to exiting combat and returning to the end of the flight. With the use of advanced command automation and airborne weapon systems, fighter jets can launch missiles at long distances to destroy enemy planes, making it less obvious to engage, attack, and exit the combat phase.

China s air-to-air missiles began in the 1950s, and began to mainly introduce the production of former Soviet air-to-air missiles. However, the breakdown of Sino-Soviet relations made China lose the opportunity to introduce the former Soviet Union's semi-active radar guided air-to-air missiles.

The first type of air-to-air missile officially in service in China was the PL-2. This was a Chinese imitation of the Soviet R-3. In 1974, an improved J-6 fighter carried the first two PL-2 missiles. This missile has a minimum effective range of 1,000 meters and a maximum range of 4000 meters. Currently, it is still used on the J-7. In the 1970s, China introduced two improved versions of PL-2, one is PL-2A and the other is PL-2B, which has greatly improved its performance. Among them, PL-2B was turned into a PL-3 missile by Westerners for quite a long time. In fact, both PL-3 and PL-4 died during the development process and did not enter the Air Force to serve.

The change of China's PL-5 air-to-air missile is more obvious. It is said that it is an improved Chinese imitation of the ALM-9G of the United States. It can withstand an acceleration of up to 30G and can carry out attacks when it deviates from the line of sight. PL-5E is the latest version of PL-5, which was born in the 1980s. It belongs to the third generation missile. A new type of auto-finding head is used. The maximum aiming angle is 25 degrees before launch, and the maximum aiming angle is 40 degrees after launch. It can withstand a load of 40G acceleration.

The PL-7 first appeared in 1987. It is generally considered to be a copy of the French Matra 550 "Magic" missile. Both are identical in performance and appearance. PL-7 missiles often appear on aircraft exported by China, such as J-7M, Qiang-5C, FT-7P and K-8.

PL-8 was exhibited in mid-1997 and is said to have originated from the Israeli Python-3. This missile marks a significant increase in the combat effectiveness of the Chinese Air Force. Because this weapon can deal with the target in the first hemisphere. The Chinese Navy Air Force's J-7M and J-8II usually carry a pair of PL-8 air-to-air missiles while patrolling the high seas.

PL-9 made his debut in 1999, but the photos were rare. Although the shape and body diameter are the same as the Python-3, the control surface and stabilizer are similar to the PL-5. PL-9 is also an all-round missile that can withstand a load of 35G acceleration. The seeker can be guided by radar or helmet sight.

Tianyan-90 is confusing. Tianyan-90 is one of the latest air-to-air missiles developed by China and is believed to be a special missile for Chinese armed helicopters. However, it seems that there are not enough reasons for developing special air-to-air missiles for the Chinese Air Force s only more than 30 armed helicopters. This air-to-air missile has a different name from all other air-to-air missiles in China. It also shows that the location is unique.

China's first semi-active air-to-air missile is PL-11, which is said to be the Italian Aspide. Both J-8II and J-10 are seen in photos of PL-11 circulating on the Internet.

In 1996, China successfully developed the PL-12. Its appearance is similar to the more advanced "Viper 2". Since then, various types of fighter planes exported by China have been equipped with this missile. The SD-10, which uses an auto-finding head, is said to have been developed for 10 years. This missile design is traditional and has nothing in common with the Russian missile in appearance. Relevant Chinese sources said that the SD-10 has been tested more than 20 times, and its performance exceeds the ALM-120 missile. Although it is not credible, its performance should not be underestimated.

For many years the PLAAF was equipped with obsolete AAMs. Through to the mid-1980s, the most common missile in its inventory was the PL2, a Chinese copy of the Soviet AA2 Atoll AAM, itself a copy of the first-generation U.S. AIM9B Sidewinder. But, in the early 1990s, this began to change.

In addition to the delivery of the first batch of Su-27SK fighters in the 1990s, Russia also delivered a variety of advanced missiles of the R-27 series. Including R-27R semi-active air-to-air missiles, R-27T infrared air-to-air missiles and R-27ER semi-active long-range air-to-air missiles. In addition, the R-73 short-range infrared guided missile is also one of the Su-27 standard air-to-air missiles.

In addition, there are reports that China recently obtained a license from Ukraine to produce R-27 air-to-air missile technology. Another breakthrough is that the Chinese Su-30MKK fighter has conducted multiple test firings of medium-range air-to-air missiles searched by the R-77 active radar. Currently serving in the Chinese Air Force.

It is said that the missile is no less than the ALM-120 missile. It is said that China and Russia are cooperating in the development of an improved R-77M missile, which is powered by a rocket engine and a ramjet engine. If the situation is true, China will have the opportunity to have the latest and most advanced in the world.

Having synthesized previously received Western and Russian technology development, Chinese designers have created their own line of modern small, medium and long range such as PL-5 modifications A, D, C, E, comparable performance characteristics with the American SD AIM-9H, AIM-9L or AIM-9P, PL8. Rocket design and performance characteristics are similar to the American AIM-132. Its feature is that virtually smokeless fuel, which makes visual detection of missiles.

Chinese medium range missiles include PL-11 and its improved version of PL-11B active radar homing (RGSN) AMR-1 and PL-12 different modifications. Basic PL-12 missile has an active radar system final guidance and a maximum range of applications up to 60 - 80 km. Her modifications presented missiles PL12B/C/D. Last PL-12D is the most perfect, representing SD active radar homing, optimized for placing on the inner hardpoints promising aviation complexes 5th generation stealth technology.

The multipurpose missile air-to-air PL-15 by weight and size resembles the last modification of the PL-12, with an active-passive homing and apparatus that provides two-way data exchange line with the carrier aircraft. Maximum range of the missile is about 100 km. At the final stage of development is the Chinese extra high-range PL-21 prospective propulsive rocket engine, providing a range of application up to 150 - 200 km.


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Page last modified: 01-08-2021 14:06:52 ZULU