Chinese AAM


dingyibvs

Junior Member
I was wandering the same. And if that's true, it can support the thesis the J-20 is more an attack plane than a "pure" fighter.
In the other hand, as an stealth, it can fire closer making the longer range missile less important than in a greater RCS aircraft.

It's not really a fighter's role to intercept AWACS, more of an interceptor's role. I think if anything this supports J-20 being more of a "pure" fighter as the J-11/16 appears to be given an interceptor role. We all remember the abundance of talk about how the J-20 can't maneuver so it's meant to sneak up to AWACS with stealth, fire a couple LRAAMs, and then scoot, rather than staying and fight. It's somewhat ironic given the initial Western assessment of the J-20 that as it turns out, the J-20 is designed as a fighter while the sino-sukhois are the interceptor/strikers.
 

Bltizo

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Does this imply that a flanker variant (J-11D/J-16/J-15) will fulfill the AWAC killer role instead of the J-20?

this missile should also be capable against fighter aircraft at range.

I see this missile as a long range "air to air" fire support for J-20. J-20 will operate closer to enemy lines and help to ID and track opposing fighter aircraft and that information will be datalinked to 4+ generation aircraft a couple hundred km behind at a safer distance.
And of course it would be useful against high value targets like AEW&C, tankers too.
 
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zaphd

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edit: also, a simple picture of what I think some of the key features of the missile are based on picture
View attachment 34175
Is there any other case of a chinese ir seeker similar to the brown patch on this new missile? Because it looks nothing like the PL-8/9/10 seeker images i have seen. Also, it looks very different from the SDB2 imIR/MMW seeker, which is somewhat similar to short range ir missile seekers in external appearance (granted, the SDB2 has a completely different flight envelope than an AAM).

Another issue I have with this interpretation is that would this IR seeker on the side of the nose be able to see forward enough? Hopefully this thing pops up in zhuhai 2018, better close up photos would answer many questions.
 

Bltizo

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Hi Blitzo, thank you for your detailed analysis. Overall I agree with you that there are two types of missiles: a medium-range AAM carried externally by J-11B and internally by J-20, and this large long-range AAM carried by J-16. The confusion started when both were labeled as PL-15 on the internet. The reason I called the first one a PL-12 variant is because in the past several big shrimps on the Chinese web sites already pointed out the missiles inside the J-20 weapon bay were not PL-15, but a PL-12 variant. However they did not describe what PL-15 really was. That's understandable because at that time no photos of any new type of AAM were available, until yesterday. So, there was an empty slot reserved for PL-15. We needed to fit it with something and now we do have something. Is this big fat sexy baby the real PL-15? Honestly I don't know. I call it PL-15 just for the convenience. Consequently on my web site I will move the old PL-15 entry and combine it with the PL-12 entry. The new AAM will occupy the PL-15 entry, for now, until more details come out to prove it otherwise. The update might take a few more days for the text to settle down. Thanks again for your input!


thanks for the reply.

Okay, that makes a bit more sense.

One reason I'm a bit hesitant about calling this new missile PL-15 is because that mixes up all the old rumours of tests and capabilities previously ascribed to the "old" PL-15/crop wing PL-12 and combines it with the new suggestions of capabilities (from the 2013 study) of the "new" PL-15/PL-XX.
The problem is that the "new" PL-15/PL-XX seems to be a different missile altogether in characteristics compared to the rumours we had of the "old" PL-15/crop wing PL-12.


I think it might be safer to call this new missile "PL-XX", and still continue calling the "old" PL-15/crop wing PL-12 "PL-15," until new information comes to light. That way it accounts for the two clearly very different missiles with different core characteristics, and avoids any confusion. it is especially important because your site is often used as the "go-to" places for new information, so any confusion and ambiguities can easily frame the future discussions in a certain way.
But of course it's just a suggestion.
 

Bltizo

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Is there any other case of a chinese ir seeker similar to the brown patch on this new missile? Because it looks nothing like the PL-8/9/10 seeker images i have seen. Also, it looks very different from the SDB2 imIR/MMW seeker, which is somewhat similar to short range ir missile seekers in external appearance (granted, the SDB2 has a completely different flight envelope than an AAM).

It is the location and the configuration of the suspected seeker whcih is important, not the colour, because the colour in question is only the glass covering over the seeker itself

For all we know the colour of the cover on the pictures we see might be for the missiles being dummies, who knows. We don't know of those missiles are real missiles or not, or maybe there is a cover over the seeker.

But to answer your question directly, this sort of dark brown/gold colour of the suspected ImIR seeker I think is a viable colour for the window. Especially considering the colour of many other windows covering other imaging sensors have a similar colour, like the EOTS of F-35 and EOIRST of J-20 not to mention a number of IRST systems for fighter aircraft.

So the colour of the seeker aperture itself I think it not very much of a factor when considering whether that feature is an ImIR seeker or not. Far more important is the location and geometry of it, as well as the study from 2013 explicitly saying that the missile they were investigating would have a composite ImIR+radar seeker.


Another issue I have with this interpretation is that would this IR seeker on the side of the nose be able to see forward enough? Hopefully this thing pops up in zhuhai 2018, better close up photos would answer many questions.

Depends on how wide the angle of the seeker is. I think that that sort of location for an ImIR seeker is the only location that really makes sense if one wants to develop a high speed AAM while also having a radar seeker in the nose as well.

Also remember the missile itself can roll during flight to allow both seekers to gain a better view, and also important is that the missile's seekers will only operate during the terminal stage where it should be coming down onto its target from quite high above
 

Bltizo

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...or it can roll just seeker head...

are you talking about the imir seeker or the entire nose cone? because if it's just the former then that won't do much because it is still fixed in the same location on the missile's nose.
 

zaphd

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It is the location and the configuration of the suspected seeker whcih is important, not the colour, because the colour in question is only the glass covering over the seeker itself

For all we know the colour of the cover on the pictures we see might be for the missiles being dummies, who knows. We don't know of those missiles are real missiles or not, or maybe there is a cover over the seeker.

But to answer your question directly, this sort of dark brown/gold colour of the suspected ImIR seeker I think is a viable colour for the window. Especially considering the colour of many other windows covering other imaging sensors have a similar colour, like the EOTS of F-35 and EOIRST of J-20 not to mention a number of IRST systems for fighter aircraft.

So the colour of the seeker aperture itself I think it not very much of a factor when considering whether that feature is an ImIR seeker or not. Far more important is the location and geometry of it, as well as the study from 2013 explicitly saying that the missile they were investigating would have a composite ImIR+radar seeker.




Depends on how wide the angle of the seeker is. I think that that sort of location for an ImIR seeker is the only location that really makes sense if one wants to develop a high speed AAM while also having a radar seeker in the nose as well.

Also remember the missile itself can roll during flight to allow both seekers to gain a better view, and also important is that the missile's seekers will only operate during the terminal stage where it should be coming down onto its target from quite high above
Perhaps I worded that poorly the color is not an issue, but the position and layout are the things that have me wondering.

Even if you have a rolling seeker head like iirc modern HOBS IR missiles, the nose of the missile will IMO obstruct the visibility directly forward. In some approach geometries that could be problematic. As an example with first order proportional guidance, if your missile speed is mach 3.2 and your target's speed is mach.8 perpendicular to the missile approach direction, the target will be only about 15 degrees off the nose (If the back of my envelope serves me right). If the tangential velocity component of the target is smaller, the missile will need an even smaller lead. And you can't just turn the nose without turning the velocity vector of the missile.

I agree that the thing we are seeing could be some kind of cover or something that you remove before firing. But I'm still sceptical we'll see an IR aperture underneath it considering how different the setup would be from contemporary IR seekers.
 

zaphd

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Even if you have a rolling seeker head like iirc modern HOBS IR missiles, the nose of the missile will IMO obstruct the visibility directly forward. In some approach geometries that could be problematic. As an example with first order proportional guidance, if your missile speed is mach 3.2 and your target's speed is mach.8 perpendicular to the missile approach direction, the target will be only about 15 degrees off the nose (If the back of my envelope serves me right). If the tangential velocity component of the target is smaller, the missile will need an even smaller lead. And you can't just turn the nose without turning the velocity vector of the missile.
just to add, this 15 degree lead would be with assuming the missile is flying straight with 0 angle of attack towards the target. Reality is ofc somewhat, but not totally different, since generally targets will be in the forward sector of the missile.
 

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