KongDi-63 Air-Launched Land-Attack Cruise Missile
The YingJi-63 (YJ-63, also known as KD-63) is an air-launched land attack cruise missile (LACM) developed by the China Haiying Electro-Mechanical Technology Academy (CHETA, also known as 3rd Space Academy). The missile features standoff range and precision strike capabilities. The missile is launched from the Xi’an H-6H medium bomber, with an estimated range of over 200km.
Traditionally, the H-6 (Chinese copy of the Russian Tu-16 Badger) could only perform tactical bombing role with conventional free-fall bombs. Beginning with the H-6D naval bomber vaiant, the bomber was given the capability to carry standoff missiles for attacking surface targets. The first missile to be carried by the H-6 bomber was the YJ-6 (C-601) anti-ship missile, which was developed from the HY-2 (CSS-N-1 Silkworm) ship-to-ship missile. Later, a more capable LACM variant was derived from the YJ-6, and was given the designation YJ-63.
The YJ-63 entered service with the PLAAF in 2004~2005, offering new offensive roles to the 30-year-old H-6 bomber. Each H-6H bomber carries two KD-63 missiles on its under-wing stores stations, and the bomber provides the mid-course correction command for the missile via the datalink antenna underneath the fuselage behind the bomb bay doors. The PLAAF is expected to deploy more KD-63-armed H-6 to replace those older variants with only conventional bombing capability.
KD-63 LACM is similar to the YJ-6 AShM in appearance (Chinese Internet)
The missile was designed to hit large fixed land targets, such as bridges, command posts, and barracks, in day/night, all-weather conditions. Powered by a FW41-B turbojet engine, the missile could be launched from outside the range of enemy air defence, thus reducing the risk to the carrier aircraft and its crew.
The YJ-63 appears to be based on the YJ-6 (C-601) and the land-based HY-4 (C-401) anti-ship missile design. The missile features a large round body with a round nose and an engine inlet located under the missile body near the rear end. It has a pair of large delta wings and an X-shape tail control surface arrangement. The missile consists of four sections: guidance, warhead, propulsion, and control surfaces.
The missile relies on inertial guidance during the initial stage of its flight and is assisted by satellite positioning (GPS/GLONASS) mid-course correction command transmitted from its carrier. There has been different views regarding its terminal guidance method. Early speculations suggest that the missile uses a TV-guided terminal guidance, which transfers the TV images back to the operator onboard the bomber during the final stage of its flight and receives the guidance command until it hits the target. However, the latest KD-63 photo shows a solid nose instead of the large glass window for the TV camera commonly seen on the TV-guided weapons, which indicates that the missile may use other guidance method. There are a number of possibilities including passive radar radiation, radio command, or even satellite guidance.
Launch weight: N/A
Warhead: 500kg HE
Max range: >200km
Guidance mode: Inertial + satellite mid-course correction + terminal
Last update: 20 October 2008