YingJi-81 Air-Launched Anti-Ship Missile
Although originally intended as an air-launched anti-ship missile, the YJ-8’s air-launched variant did not enter operational service due to the cancellation of the Q-5B naval attack aircraft. Instead, it was deployed as a ship-to-ship missile in the PLA Navy. The development of the air-launched variant continued in the 1980s onboard the “Eagle” fire-control testbed, a specially modified Harbin H-5 (Chinese copy of the IL-28 Beagle) light bomber. The missile eventually entered the PLA Navy service in the mid-1990s as the YJ-81 (or C-801K in its export name) to be carried by the JH-7 two-seater fighter-bomber.
The YJ-81 is identical to YJ-8 in external appearance, apart from the lack of the solid rocket motor booster at the rear end of the missile. As a result, the missile is only 4.50m in length. The maximum range of the missile is 50km. A JH-7 fighter-bomber can carry up to four YJ-81 missiles on its underwing hardpoints. A development variant of the Xi'an H-6 bomber known as H-6M could also carry four YJ-81 missiles under its wings.
Last update: 26 October 2008