PL-12
JF17-10-113-1736.jpg
A model of an export version of the PL-12, SD-10A, (bottom-left corner) with a Pakistan Air Force JF-17 on display at the Farnborough Airshow 2010.
TypeMedium-range, active radar homing air-to-air BVR missile
Place of originPeople's Republic of China
Service history
In service2005-present[1]
Used byPeople's Liberation Army Air Force

People's Liberation Army Naval Air Force
Pakistan Air Force

Myanmar Air Force
Specifications
Mass180 kilograms (400 lb)[2]

EngineDual thrust solid fuel rocket[3]
Operational
range
70–100 kilometres (43–62 mi)[4][5]
Maximum speed Mach 4+[3]
Guidance
system
Active radar[6]
Launch
platform

The PL-12 (Chinese: 霹雳-12; pinyin: Pī Lì-12; lit. 'Thunderbolt-12', NATO reporting name: CH-AA-7[12]) is an active radar-guided beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile developed by the People's Republic of China. It is considered comparable to the US AIM-120 AMRAAM and the Russian R-77.[6]

History

Development of the PL-12 (SD-10) began in 1997.[1] The first public information of the Leihua Electronic Technology Research Institute's PL-12 – then called the SD-10 – emerged in 2001.[13] Development was assisted by Vympel NPO and Agat of Russia.[14] Liang Xiaogeng is believed to have been the chief designer.[15] Four successful test firings were made in 2004.[14] The missile entered People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) service in 2005.[1]

Design

The early batches of PL-12 missiles reportedly used the 9B-1348 radar seeker designed for the R-77 missile. The development process was assisted by Vympel NPO and Tactical Missile Corporation and benefited from Russian technology transfers.[3] But as of 2018, the PL-12 was no longer reliant on Russian components for missile production.[3]

The guidance system comprises data-linked mid-course guidance and active radar homing for terminal guidance.[3] The missile uses Chinese rocket motor[13] and airframe.[16] The PL-12 may have a passive homing mode for use against jammers and AEW aircraft.[13] The maximum range is estimated to be 100 kilometres (62 mi).[17]

PL-12's overall dimension is larger than AIM-120 AMRAAM. Per PLAAF assessment, PL-12's capability sits between AIM-120B and AIM-120C, and the improved PL-12A is claimed to be comparable with the AIM-120C-4. The domestic version of the PL-12 features a variable-thrust rocket motor with a range of 70–100 kilometres (43–62 mi), while the export variant SD-10 features a reduced range of 60–70 kilometres (37–43 mi).[18] According to the Royal United Services Institute, the range performance of PL-12 stands between AIM-120B and AIM-120C-5.[19]

Variants

SD-10A on display with the JF-17 light-weight fighter at the Farnborough International Airshow 2010.
SD-10A on display with the JF-17 light-weight fighter at the Farnborough International Airshow 2010.
PL-12
Domestic version with 60[20] to 100 km[17] range.
PL-12A
Improved PL-12 with a modified seeker and digital processor. Reportedly fitted with passive mode for anti-radiation missions.[18]
SD-10A (ShanDian-10, 闪电-10)
Export version of the PL-12.[20]
SD-10B
Enhanced SD-10A with better anti-jamming capability.[11][20]

Operators

Map with PL-12 operators in blue
Map with PL-12 operators in blue

Current operators

 People's Republic of China
 Pakistan
 Myanmar

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c Wood, Yang & Cliff 2020, p. 19.
  2. ^ a b O'Rourke: page 21
  3. ^ a b c d e Wood, Yang & Cliff 2020, p. 38.
  4. ^ Medeiros et al.: page 93
  5. ^ Fisher, Richard D. Jr. (21 February 2010). "The Air Balance on the Taiwan Strait". International Assessment and Strategy Center. Retrieved 1 November 2016.
  6. ^ a b Cliff: page 8
  7. ^ Hallion etc al.: page 195
  8. ^ O'Rourke: page 77
  9. ^ Gormley et al.: page 55
  10. ^ Gormley et al.: page 13
  11. ^ a b Jennings, Gareth (4 March 2015). "Bulgaria to be offered JF-17 fighter by Pakistan". janes.com. Archived from the original on 2 July 2015. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
  12. ^ Barrie, Douglas (8 October 2021). "China fires longer-range AAM at export market". International Institute for Strategic Studies.
  13. ^ a b c Fisher, Richard D. Jr. (2 February 2008). "China's Emerging 5th Generation Air-to-Air Missiles". International Assessment and Strategy Center. Archived from the original on 21 October 2009. Retrieved 1 November 2016.
  14. ^ a b Medeiros et al.: page 92
  15. ^ Fisher, Richard D. Jr. (18 September 2015). "Chief designer reveals data on China's new Luoyang PL-10 AAM". janes.com. Archived from the original on 5 January 2016. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
  16. ^ Fisher, Richard D. Jr. (21 November 2002). "Military Sales to China: Going to Pieces". International Assessment and Strategy Center. Retrieved 1 November 2016.
  17. ^ a b Wood, Yang & Cliff 2020, p. 39.
  18. ^ a b Newdick, Thomas (1 September 2022). "A Guide To China's Increasingly Impressive Air-To-Air Missile Inventory". The Drive.
  19. ^ Bronk 2020, p. 36.
  20. ^ a b c Joshi, Sameer (6 February 2021). "How China is fast catching up with the West in the race for air-to-air missile superiority". The Print.
  21. ^ "Transfers of major weapons: Deals with deliveries or orders made for 1950 to 2019 (China to Pakistan, missiles)". Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Retrieved 3 February 2021. (600) PL-12/SD-10 BVRAAM (2006) 2010-2019 (475) For JF-17 and possibly modernized Mirage-3/5 combat aircraft
  22. ^ "Transfers of major weapons: Deals with deliveries or orders made for 1950 to 2019 (China to Myanmar, missiles)". Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Retrieved 3 February 2021. (60) PL-12/SD-10 BVRAAM (2015) 2018-2019 (24) For JF-17 combat aircraft
Bibliography