PiLi-12 Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile
The PiLi-12 (PL-12) is an active radar-homing ‘beyond-visual-range’ medium-range air-to-air missile (MRAAM) with multiple targets engagement capability, comparable to the U.S. AIM-120 AMRAAM and Russian R-77 (NATO codename: AA-12 Adder) in size and performance. The missile has been developed by Luoyang-based China Academy of Air-to-Air Missile (CAAAM), and has been promoted to the international market under the name SD-10 (SheDian-10).
Development of the PL-12 began in 1997, and CAAAM faced tremendous difficulties in the development due to lack of experience. The missile development was completed in 2005. During a fire test carried out on 16 August 2005, a total of eleven missiles were fired, all hitting their targets. A multi-target fire testing carried out in late 2005 was also successful. The missile has been equipped by the indigenous J-8F, J-10 and J-11B fighters in service with the PLAAF and PLA Naval Aviation.
The PL-12 has possibly adopted the AMR-1 active radar seeker developed by CAAAM in the late 1990s. Unconfirmed reports suggested the AMR-1 development was assisted by Russian Agat Bureau, the designer of the R-77’s seeker. There is also report suggesting that the PL-12 contains some elements of the Israeli Derby MRAAM technology. The PL-12 is powered by a Chinese-designed motor giving a maximum range of 70km and speed of Mach 4. The missile was claimed to be more manoeuvrable than the Russian R-77, and approach the U.S. AIM-120A in general performance.
The PL-12 features four delta wings, four tail fins (control surfaces), and externally mounted wiring harness cover. The specially designed “clipped” tail fins provides lower drag for greater speed and higher torque for better manoeuvrability. Two datalink antennas can be seen next to the nozzle for mid-course correction. With its active radar seeker, the missile is “fire and forget”, without the need of continuous guidance from the carrier aircraft. This enables several missiles to be fired simultaneously at multiple targets.
Launch weight: 180kg
Propulsion: Rocket motor
Max speed: Mach 4
Max range: 50~70km
G Limit: 38g
Guidance mode: Inertial + mid-course correction + terminal active radar
Fuse: Laser/microwave proximity fuse
Last update: 19 October 2008