PL-12

The PL-12 (PiLi-12, 霹雳-12), along with its derivatives designated SD-10 (ShanDian-10, 闪电-10) and SD-10A, is a series of radar-guided air-to-air missile developed by China's Luoyang Electro-Optical Technology Development Center. PL-12 is in service with the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF).

PL-12
Class Missile
Type Air to Air
Manufacturer CATIC
Origin China
Country Name Origin Year
China 2007
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
China 2007 View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
CATIC 2002 View

The PL-12 active-radar BVR air-to-air missile became the highest priority air-to-air weapons programme for China's military industry during 2002, and supplanted several previous developmental projects (such as the PL-10 and PL-11) in terms of effort and importance. It provides the People's Liberation Army Air Force with a sophisticated, domestic airborne weapon on par with mainstream Western Airforces around the world. It will equip the mainstream of future modern Chinese fighters, and current compatible fighters.

The PL-12 is listed as part of CATIC's current 'Thunder-Lightning' family of air-to-air missiles, that includes the PL-5E, PL- 9C and TY-90 systems (all developed by the Luoyang Electro-Optical Technology Development Center). The chief designer of PL-12 is Fan Huitao (???) of AVIC I. Development of PL-12 was once led by Dong Bingyin, former chief designer of PL-12 who died in 2000.

Prior to the emergence of the PL-12, China's active radar seeker AAM development programme was sometimes identified as the 'AMR-1'. During Air Show China 1996, held during November in Zhuhai, the China Leihua Electronic Technology Research Institute/No 607 Research Institute exhibited a newly developed active radar seeker, the AMR-1. This seeker was, in turn, believed to have been applied to a new air- to-air missile design, derived from the LY-60 surface-to-air missile, and dubbed the 'PL-12'. This active radar missile, and the earlier semi-active radar homing PL-11, seemed to have a common design heritage with the Italian Aspide missile, supplied to China during the late 1980s. The status of the PL-11 and 'LY-60/PL-12' development programmes is unclear, but sources within CATIC say these earlier programmes have all been abandoned in favor of the PL-12.

The existence of the PL-12 programme was acknowledged by Chinese officials for the first time in early 2002 (the first pictures of the new missile appeared from Chinese sources during 2001). According to CATIC sources the missile has a range of 70 km. Earlier speculation around the AMR-1/LY-60 programme suggested that a ramjet engine was being developed for it, and such a powerplant would allow a missile to be effective at such long ranges.

  • SD-10
  • SD-10A
  • DK-10
  • Sky Dragon 50

Type Air-to-air missile
Surface-to-air missile
Place of origin People's Republic of China
Service history
In service 2007
Used by People's Liberation Army Air Force
People's Liberation Army Ground Force
People's Liberation Army Naval Air Force
Production history
Manufacturer CATIC
Unit cost $550,000
Produced 2002
Specifications
Weight 180 kg (396 lb)
Length 3.85 m (12.63 ft)
Diameter 203 mm (8 in)
Warhead High explosive fragmentationwarhead
Detonation
mechanism
Laser/microwave proximity fuse
Engine Solid fuel dual-thrust rocket motor
Wingspan 670 mm
Propellant Solid fuel
Operational
range
70 km[1][2][3][4] - 100 km[5]
Flight ceiling 21 km
Flight altitude 0-21 km
Speed Mach 4
Guidance
system
Inertial / Data-link (mid-course)
Active radar homing (terminal phase)
Launch
platform
Shenyang J-15
J-11B / J-11BS / J-11BH / J-11BSH
J-10A / J-10S / J-10B
J-8II
JF-17
Type 054, Type 054A frigates

Specifications

  • Length: 3.85 m (12.63 ft)
  • Body diameter: 203 mm (8 in)
  • Wing span: 670 mm
  • Fin span: 752 mm
  • Launch weight: 180 kg (396 lb)
  • Warhead: HE fragmentation
  • Fuse: Active proximity fuse
  • Guidance: Inertial mid-course and/or datalink updates, with active radar terminal homing
  • Propulsion: Solid dual-thrust rocket motor
  • Maximum Range: 70+ km - 100 km
  • Minimum Range: 1 km
  • Maximum g-force: > 38 g
  • Maximum Altitude: 21 km
  • Maximum Speed: > Mach 4
  • No Escape Zone (NEZ): around 15 km

End notes