PiLi-11 Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile
The PiLi-11 (PL-11) semi-active radar-homing medium-range air-to-air missile (MRAAM) has been developed by Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology (SAST), based on the seeker technology of the Italian Alenia Aspide. The Aspide was derived from the U.S. AIM-7 Sparrow MRAAM, but with a monopulse seeker replacing the conic scan seeker for improved accuracy and better resistance to jamming.
The PLA obtained some examples of the Italian Alenia Aspide MRAAM in the mid-1980s for trial and evaluation. Later an agreement was signed between China and Italy to co-produce the missile locally under license. The first batch of the Chinese-built Aspide missiles using Italian-made kits rolled out in early 1989, but the supply of kits was cut off by the Italian government as a result of EU weapon sanction imposed on China in the aftermath of the June 1989 incident.
In the early 1990s the PLA decided to use the Aspide technology obtained through its earlier co-operation with Alenia to develop its own indigenous MRAAM designated PL-11. The missile uses a mono-pulse semi-active radar-homing seeker copied from the seeker of the Aspide missile. The first test fire of the missile was carried out on a J-8II fighter in 1992. The missile entered PLA service in the mid-1990s for test and evaluations. The final certification test of the missile took place in 2001, with four of five missiles fired hit the targets.
The PL-11 has a conventional aerodynamic layout which resembles that of the AIIM-7 Sparrow. The missile has four large clipped control surfaces located at the middle of the missile body, and four fixed smaller delta-shape stabilising fins at the missile tail. The missile also has two externally mounted wiring harness covers lasting from the missile nose to the aft edge of the main control surfaces.
PL-11: The basic variant based on the HQ-61C SAM and Aspide seeker technology.
PL-11A: The improved variant with greater range and more powerful warhead. The improved seek head requires the guidance of the fire-control radar of the carrier aircraft only during the final stage of its flight.
PL-11B: Also known as PL-11-AMR. This is an active radar-homing derivative of the PL-11A, with an AMR-1 active radar-homing seeker developed by the 607 Institute.
Missile length: 3.89m
Missile diameter: 0.208m
Launch weight: 220kg
Warhead: HE fragmentation
Propulsion: Solid fuel
Maximum speed: Mach 4
Guidance: Semi-active radar
Last update: 19 October 2008