Missiles III

APR-3E (courtesy of HF, LXDF)

An APR-3E aerial torpedo was just released from a PLAN Ka-28 ASW helicopter's internal bomb bay. A number of APR-3E light ASW acoustic homing torpedos were imported in mid-2000 from Russia as part of the Ka-28 ASW helicopter's weapon package. APR-3E has become the most powerful air-launched ASW weapon in PLAN's arsenal. Some specifications: speed>56kt, range>3km, diameter 350mm, length 3,685mm, weight 525kg, warhead 74kg. Once entering water the torpedo is guided by an acoustic homing seeker (sonar) and is propelled by a pump-jet propulsion unit with a solid-propellant charge and a gas generator. The sonar has a range of 1.5-2km. APR-3E can engage a target at a max speed of 43kt and a max depth of 800m.
- Last Updated 10/15/10


It was first rumored in 2011 that 607 Institute was developing the next generation of active radar homing LRAAM dubbed PL-15 replacing PL-12 which is comparable to American AIM-120D. The missile was initially speculated as a PL-12 variant (PL-12C?) but it appears to be a new design. PL-15 features redesigned stabilizing fins and tail control fins with smaller wingspans in order to fit into the internal weapon bay of J-20 (up to 4). A major improvement of the missile is a new a dual pulse rocket motor which could extend its range up to 200km. Its two-way datalink and a new active/passive dual mode AESA seeker onboard will give it an excellent ECCM capability against severe jamming. A PL-15 prototype was first seen underneath the wing of a J-11B testbed in 2012. In 2013 PL-15 was first seen inside J-20's main internal weapon bay during its weapon integration tests.  It was reported by US intelligence that PL-15 was successfully test-fired from a J-11B in 2015. In 2016 PL-15 started to be carried by J-10C, J-11B and by J-16 a year later. The latest rumor (March 2019) claimed that PL-15 has been cleared for export as PL-15E.
- Last Updated 10/6/19


This stunning image (November 2016) indicated a new large VLRAAM has been under development and its exact designation is unknown (PL-20?) . Compared to PL-12, it has 4 tail control fins only (coupled with TVC?) and is significantly longer and thicker than PL-12 (length 5.7m, diameter 300mm). Its large size suggests the missile actually belongs to a new class of VLRAAM and not a PL-12 replacement. As the result it cannot be carried internally by the 4th generation fighters such as J-20 but is expected to be carried externally by 3.5th generation long-range fighters/interceptors such as J-16. However it may still be carried externally by J-20 underneath its wings. The missile appears to be propelled by a dual pulse rocket motor in favor of a ramjet engine, which has a smaller drag and a slimmer size. It is also speculated to fly a semi-ballistic trajectory similar to American AIM-54 in order to achieve an extra long range (range>300km, speed>Mach 4, cruising altitude 30km). PL-20 is believed to feature an advanced guidance system including a two-way datalink and a new active AESA seeker with enhanced ECCM capability. Before the launch the missile must obtain the target information via datalink from an AWACS, another stealth fighter such as J-20, a land-based long-range radar or even a satellite. The launch aircraft disengages right after releasing the missile. After the initial ascent stage, the missile may use Beidou+INS+datalink guidance from external sources during the mid-course cruising stage. At the terminal diving stage, in combination with the AESA seeker, it may also use an IIR seeker as indicated by a small optical window in its nose, which further increases its kill probability amid severe jamming. Therefore this VLRAAM could pose a serious threat to high-value aerial targets deep behind the enemy line such as AWACS and tankers, and currently is the only type in this class. It was rumored in November 2016 that a PL-20 was test-fired successfully from a J-16. The latest image (April 2020) showing the missile being carried by a JH-7A testbed suggested that the development of PL-20 is moving forward and it is expected to enter the service in the near future. The missile also appeared slightly shorter, suggesting a shorter variant might be developed.
- Last Updated 4/14/20


This new ultra long-range active radar homing AAM has been under development which appears similar to British Meteor. It features an active radar seeker and an integrated ramjet/solid rocket motor with a single or twin variable belly air inlets. PL-21 might feature 4 small stabilizing fins behind the active radar seeker, a characteristics of Russian R-27/AA-10. Two-way datalink antennas may have been installed in the tail section for mid-course correction. The maximum range of PL-21 is estimated to be 400km, effective range is 320km. It was rumored that the first ground launch test took place in March 2010. Similar to PL-17, PL-21 is expected to be carried by J-16 even Su-35S for long-range interception against enemy transport aircraft and AWACS. It is also expected to be carried internally by the new generation of stealth fighters including J-20 and FC-31.
- Last Updated 3/25/20


JG-500B (K/YJG500B/GB500) is a 2nd generation LGB to replace the older JG-500. It features a proportional navigation seeker which has a better precision, higher sensitivity and is less susceptible to the windy environment. The LGB generally shares a similar design with  LS-500J, except for the seeker. Besides fixed targets, JG-500B can also be dropped against slow-moving targets (<30km/hr). JG-500B was first spotted being carried by a J-10B prototype in 2015 and is believed to have entered the service together with J-10B/C. The latest image (September 2017) indicated that PLAAF JH-7As also started to carry JG-500B, suggesting it has entered the full-scale production. It was reported in November 2014 that a smaller variant of 250kg class (GB250?) was tested onboard a Q-5L as well.
- Last Updated 11/10/19
YJ-83KH is an improved version of YJ-83K AShM with the radar seeker replaced by an IIR seeker (H: infrared). As the result YJ-83KH is less susceptible to normal IRCM such as flare or smoke, and has a good all-weather capability. Furthermore the missile has been speculated to have a limited land-attack capability against fixed high-value  targets. Overall the missile resembles Japanese ASM-2 AshM. It is thought that the launch of YJ-83KH could be either fire-and-forget or having man-in-the-loop guidance at the terminal stage to achieve pinpoint accuracy. A blade datalink antenna can be seen on top of the forward missile body. A new datalink pod is carried by the aircraft for over-the-horizon attack. Like YJ-83K, up to 4 YJ-83KH can be carried by the naval JH-7As and H-6Gs. Its export version is called CM-802AKG, which is claimed to have a stand-off capability against fixed land targets. CM-802AKG carries a 285kg warhead and has a range of 230km. The latest images (April 2017) indicated that YJ-83KH is currently in service with PLAN South Sea Fleet, which could be used against foreign military facilities on the Spratly Islands in South China Sea.
- Last Updated 4/13/17


This supersonic standoff missile was first on display at the 2012 Zhuhai Airshow as part of JF-17's "complete" weapon package. Unlike most modern ASMs flying at the low altitude, the missile flies a rare high ballistic trajectory, powered by a solid rocket motor. It appears that CM-400AKG may have evolved from the earlier SY-400 SRBM. Therefore the effectiveness of such attack profile is still unknown. Some specifications: weight 900kg, max range 240km, max speed Mach 5.5 (at diving stage?). It has INS during the mid-course and utilizes active/passive radar/IIR seeker with target-recognition capabilities at the terminal stage, which may improve its accuracy. CM-400AKG is speculated to have been designed to attack fixed or "slow moving", high value ground targets. Up to two CM-400AKGs can be carried by a JF-17. A small yellow dorsal antenna was installed probably to provide the datalink between the missile and the aircraft. A recent image (July 2016) suggested that the program was still making progress with JF-17 seen undergoing weapon integration tests, possibly to meet the requirement of a new customer (Myanmar?). The latest report suggested that PAF procured 60 missiles between 2017-18 but this has been confirmed.
- Last Updated 10/15/19


Similar to American AGM-65B Maverick, this TV guided short-range AGM entered the service with PLAAF in 2002 as part of the Su-30MKK weapon's package. The missile weighs 685kg and carries a 320kg HE warhead. Its length is 3.9m and diameter is 0.38m. Its range is 12km and speed is 900-1,260km/hr. It is powered by a solid rocket engine. The missile can lock on a fixed target indicated by the weapon control officer before launch and can be fire-and-forget. However like TV guided Kh-59ME, the usage of Kh-29T is only limited to daylight under clear weather conditions.
- Last Updated 3/15/13


YJ-12 is first of the new generation of supersonic long-range AshMs which just entered the service with PLAN. A model of a mysterious supersonic ASM similar to French ASMP was first unveiled at the 2006 Zhuhai Airshow underneath the wing of a JH-7. However the initial speculation of a twin side air intake design as the possible configuration of YJ-12 turned out to be false. Developed by CASIC,  YJ-12 appears bigger than Russian Kh-31 but smaller than Kh-41. It features an integrated liquid fuel ramjet engine with a solid rocket booster. Four long narrow air intakes are attached to the body in an "X" arrangement. The missile is thought to have a cruise speed of Mach 2.5-3.5 and a range of 150-400km, depending on its cruising altitude. It typically flies a low-high-low profile. After launched from the carrier, it first climbs and cruises at a relatively high altitude before diving to a sea-skimming level at terminal stage and performs large-scale/high g maneuvers to avoid interception. Compared to the earlier YJ-83, YJ-12 is thought to carry a large warhead (250kg) capable of inducing substantial damage to large surface ships including aircraft carrier. YJ-12 was believed to have been test-fired from a modified H-6L prototype #872 between 2009 and 2010 and currently is in service with PLAN H-6L (x2) and H-6J (x6). The missile was speculated to be carried by PLAN J-16H (x2) but has yet to be confirmed. YJ-12 was officially unveiled during the 2015 VJ Day Parade in Beijing. Its export version was first unveiled at the 2016 Zhuhai Airshow as CM-302. The latest image (April 2020) indicated that YJ-12 can also be carried by PLAAF H-6K.
- Last Updated 4/14/20


This lightweight AShM recently entered the service with PLAN as part of the weapon package of Z-9D. Up to 4 missiles can be carried by Z-9D at a time. YJ-9 may have evolved from the earlier TL-10B developed by Hongdu. YJ-9 is a light, active radar guided anti-ship missile used against smaller FACs and gun boats (<1,000t). Its range is 15km, speed is Mach 0.8, weight is 105kg, and its warhead weighs 30kg. Besides Z-9D, YJ-9 is expected to be carried by the new Z-18F and Z-20F ASW helicopters as well. Its export version is dubbed YJ-9E. The missile has three versions depending on the guidance: YJ-9E (radar), YJ-9EA (TV) and YJ-9EB (semi-active laser). Recent news (September 2016) indicated that Zambian AF has ordered some YJ-9E ASM for its newly acquired L-15AFT aircraft.
- Last Updated 10/28/19