Kh-29T Air-to-Surface Missile
The Kh-29 (NATO reporting name: AS-14 Kedge) is the short-range air-to-surface missile designed by Russian Matus Bisnovat's "Molniya" (Lightning) and Vympel Design Bureau in the 1980s. The missile is available in two variants: (Article 63) semi-active laser guided version designated Kh-29L, and (Article 64) TV-guided version designated Kh-29T. The PLAAF reportedly acquired 2,000 examples of the Kh-29T missile in 2002 from Russia, as part of the weapon package for the Su-30MKK fighters it ordered from Russia. The missile has been seen in action during the “Peace Mission 2005” China-Russia joint exercise.
In July 2002 reports indicated that the PLAAF ordered about 2,000 Russian-made Kh-29T missiles and received them in the same year. This may suggest that they came out of existing Russian Air Force inventory rather than new production. In 2004 the Chinese publicity photos also confirmed that the missile was operational with the PLAAF. Given the large number purchased, the PLAAF may consider also using the missile on its indigenous aircraft such as JH-7A fighter-bomber or the smaller Q-5 attacker.
A PLAAF Su-30MKK fighter carrying a Kh-29T training missile (Chinese Internet)
The development of the Kh-29 air-to-surface missile family began in the Molniya KB in the mid-1970s, but the work was later transferred to Vympel, which is known for specialising in air-to-air missiles. Comparable in performance to the U.S. AGM-65 Maverick but with a larger size, the Kh-29 is intended primarily for use against larger battlefield targets and infrastructures such as industrial buildings, airports, depots and bridges. The Kh-29T (Article 64) is fitted with a Tubus-2 television seeker, with automatic optical homing to a distinguishable object indicated by the pilot in the cockpit.
The PLAAF purchased the missile possibly as a stopgap before an indigenous design becomes available. In late 1990s the OAO Korporatsya Takticheskoye Raketnoye Vorozhuneye offered also Kh-29TD version (known as Kh-29TE for export) with some improvements to the seeker and the control system, and an increased range of 12~14km. It is not clear whether the PLAAF ordered this variant or the basic variant.
The Kh-29T is equipped with Tubus-2 TV seeker, developed by NPO “Impuls” from Moscow, working in visual waveband (0.4 to 0.95μm). The missile before launch passes the picture to the screen in the cockpit and after launch is of “fire-and-forget” type. The missile is carried on the AKU-58 launcher pylon, from which it dropped down before its engine starts. The maximum distance of launch is 8~10km and the minimum distance is 3km. The missile has an accuracy of 5~8m CEP.
The missile can be fired from altitudes from 200m to 10,000m, at the speeds between 600 and 1,250km/h. From altitudes of 200~500m it is launched from horizontal flight, from altitudes 800~2,000m from shallow dive and from 1,500~4,000m (optimal altitudes) is launched from more step dive. However, some sources suggest that the launch altitude above 5,000m is purely theoretical capability, without serious tactical use.
Weight: (Kh-29L) 657kg; (Kh-29T) 680kg
Warhead: 317kg (116kg HE)
Propulsion: Solid rocket
Max speed: 2,900km/s
Max effective range: 8,000~10,000m
Guidance: (Kh-29L/Article 63) semi-active laser; (Kh-29T/Article 64) TV; (Kh-29D) Thermal-imaging
Last update: 20 October 2008