PiLi-2 Short-Range Air-to-Air Missile
The PiLi-2 (PL-2) is a Chinese licensed copy of the Soviet R-13 (NATO codename: AA-2 Atoll) short-range air-to-air missile (AAM), which itself was a reverse-engineered clone of the U.S. AIM-9B Sidewinder. During the 1958 Taiwan Strait crisis, the Republic of China (ROC) air force F-86 fighters fired several AIM-9B missiles to PLAAF MiG-15s, making the world’s first use of AAM in air combat. The remains of an unexploded AIM-9B was recovered after the battle and later handed to the Soviet Union for further examination. Based on this example the Vympel Design Bureau developed the USSR’s first IR-homing AAM K-13.
Following the successful development of the PL-1 radar-homing AAM (Chinese copy of the K-5M), China obtained the K-13 technology from the Soviet Union in the early 1960s, and developed its Chinese copy as PL-2 in 1967. The missile was developed by the Luoyang-based 607 Institute, and built by Zhuzhou Aero-Engine Factory and Xi'an Dongfang Machinery Factory since 1970. The missile was first used in combat in March 1966, when a PLAAF J-7 fighter fired two PL-2 missiles, one of which shot down a USAF AQM-34N Firebee unmanned reconnaissance aerial vehicle.
The improved PL-2A project began in November 1973, but the development was stopped in 1978 due to technical problems. The improved PL-2B was introduced by Hanzhong-based 202 Factory in 1978. Its production began in July 1975 and stopped in 1980. The missile was the standard short-range air-to-air weapon for the PLAAF and PLANAF throughout the 1970s and early 1980s until it was replaced by the more capable PL-5 in the late 1980s.
Warhead: 11.3kg HE blast/fragmentation
Propulsion: Solid rocket
Max effective range: 3km
Last update: 12 October 2008