YingJi-6 (C-601) Air-Launched Anti-Ship Missile
The YingJi-6 (YJ-6, also known as C-601 in its export name, NATO codename: CAS-1 Kraken) is China’s first air-launched anti-ship missile. Developed from the HY-2 (C-201) liquid-fuel radar-homing anti-ship missile, the YJ-6 missile is carried on the Xi’an H-6D missile bomber. The improved variant YJ-61 (C-611) was introduced in the mid-1990s. The PLA has also developed the land-attack cruise missile YJ-63 (KD-63) on the basis of the YJ-6. The missile will be replaced by the more capable YJ-8K/82K series in the future.
In response to the PLA’s request for an air-launched anti-ship missile which can be carried by the H-5 and H-6 bomber, Beijing-based 3rd Space Academy (now China Haiying Electro-Mechanical Technology Academy, CHETA) proposed an air-launched anti-ship missile based on its HY-2 (Chinese copy of the Soviet SS-N-2 Styx) liquid-fuel land-based anti-ship missile design in 1966. The development programme was suspended shortly after due to the political impact by the ‘Culture Revolution’, and the project was not resumed until 1975. The missile design was approved in 1977, and Xi’an Aircraft Factory (now XAC) was in charge of modifying the H-6A (Chinese copy of the Tu-16 Badger) medium-bomber into H-6D anti-ship missile bomber.
H-6D naval bomber with YJ-6 (Chinese Internet)
A number of new technologies were used on the development of the new air-launched anti-ship missile designated YJ-6 (export name C-601), including the terminal radar-homing seeker with anti-jamming capability, digital missile control mechanism, Doppler radar, and inertial guidance. Development of the fire-control system for the H-6D bomber was finished in 1979. During the fire-control system tests in 1982, the aircraft radar successfully captured the surface target at altitudes between 1,000m and 9,000m. The first test fire of the missile from the H-6D bomber took place on 19 June 1982, with three missile fired, all of which hit their targets. During the design certification test carried out in 1984, four of the seven missile launched hit the targets. The missile and its H-6D carrier entered service with the PLANAF in 1986.
The YJ-6 is China’s first air-launched anti-ship missile. Its 500kg HE warhead is enough to sink or seriously damage a 3,000t plus surface combatant, or a 10,000t cargo ship. The missile is carried on the Xi'an H-6D bomber with a combat radius of 1,800~2,000km. Each H-6D can carry two missiles under its wings. Double fire volley greatly increases the fighting power of the missile. Later 3rd Academy also introduced the improved YJ-61 (C-611) with high energy oxidizer fuel and an improved engine that extended the firing range to 180~200km.
The YJ-6 missile is almost identical in appearance to the shipborne/land-based HY-2 (C-201) anti-ship missile apart from the deletion of the solid-rocket booster motor which is superfluous to this air-launched missile. The missile has a round nose and a short and fat fuselage, with a pair of fixed wings mounted on the middle of the missile body, and three control surfaces on the tail. Powered by a liquid rocket engine, the YJ-6 missile requires fairly complex maintenance and long preparing time before launch.
During a typical anti-ship mission by the YJ-6, the H-6 carrier bomber will first lock on the target using its Type 245 target acquisition/illumination radar accommodated in the enlarged under-nose radome. The typical effective range of the radar is 100~150km. The bomber launches the missile at a distance of 50~100km to the target. The aircraft can then leave the combat area immediately. The missile relies on inertial guidance for the initial stage of its flight. At the terminal stage of the flight, the missile turns on its active radar seeker to lock on the target until its hits. The monopulse active radar provides resistance to disturbance of sea waves and various types of electronic jamming. The level flight altitude of the missile can be set at 500m, 70m, or 50m, providing good low-altitude penetration capabilities.
Length: 7.1m (YJ-6); 7.36m (YJ-61)
Launch weight: 2,440kg
Warhead: 513kg time-delayed semi-armour-piercing high-explosive
Propulsion: One liquid rocket engine
Max speed: Mach 0.9
Max range: 95~100km (YJ-6); 180~200km (YJ-61)
Flight Altitude: 50~200m
Guidance mode: Inertial + terminal active radar
Single hit probability: 70%
Last update: 26 October 2008