Chinese AAM


latenlazy

Colonel
The logical assumption would be that what we saw inside j20 is NOT pl-15. Rather a pl-12 variant. Only that way can one still claim that pl-15 is a different class of a missile compared to pl-12. Otherwise, you could always retain the same body dimensions and update the rest of the missile and still both have a more capable missile while being in the same class of the missile.
Supposedly, the missile body is a bit longer but the missile diameter is about the same?
 

jobjed

Captain
For me the inquiry is not about shame or pride. I find it curious because as far as I know the PL-15 and the PL-12 aren’t so dramatically different in their dimensions that if they could fit 6 of the latter it’s hard to see why they couldn’t fit 6 of the former. If you were the PLAAF and there was a way you could do so, why wouldn’t you want to? It could just be that the PL-15 is literally just longer enough than the PL-12 to make staggering impossible of course, so the base presumption I’m operating off of could be wrong, but if I’m not wrong the J-20’s weapons bay should be about 4.2 meters long and I’ve heard that PL-15 is 4 meters, and that makes staggering seem doable, which is why I’ve been a bit persistent about this point. At the end of the day I just want to know the particulars, given that how I imagine the PLAAF’s thinking behind the decisions over weapons load here would have indicated a different outcome.

There's nothing to indicate they can fit six normal PL-12s. The variant of which six could fit in the FC-31's weapons bay is the folding-fin variant. The PL-15 does not yet have a corresponding folding-fin variant like the PL-12, and might never get one according to pb, implying the PLA doesn't really care whether the J-20 can fit four or six.


The logical assumption would be that what we saw inside j20 is NOT pl-15. Rather a pl-12 variant. Only that way can one still claim that pl-15 is a different class of a missile compared to pl-12. Otherwise, you could always retain the same body dimensions and update the rest of the missile and still both have a more capable missile while being in the same class of the missile.

Pb explicitly said the missiles in the J-20's weapons bay were PL-15s. The different classification comes from the fact that PL-15s are medium-to-long-range missiles and PL-12s are medium-range missiles.
 

latenlazy

Colonel
There's nothing to indicate they can fit six normal PL-12s. The variant of which six could fit in the FC-31's weapons bay is the folding-fin variant. The PL-15 does not yet have a corresponding folding-fin variant like the PL-12, and might never get one according to pb, implying the PLA doesn't really care whether the J-20 can fit four or six.

Either way there’s a way to make missiles of that particular set of dimensions fit 6, so why wouldn’t they PLA want that ability for the PL-15 when they’ve shown to want it for the PL-12? That’s the question I’m left with.
 

jobjed

Captain
Either way there’s a way to make missiles of that particular set of dimensions fit 6, so why wouldn’t they PLA want that ability for the PL-15 when they’ve shown to want it for the PL-12? That’s the question I’m left with.

The PLA probably asked for neither but AVIC went ahead anyway like they are with the FC-31 and have already succeeded with the PL-12. The PL-12's folding-fin variant got developed earlier likely because it's a more mature design and the project to crop its wings was initiated earlier. The PLA's attitude might be 'four is enough but if you make a variant that can fit six to a J-20, we'll take a look at it'.
 

Totoro

Captain
VIP Professional
When i measured missiles in J-20's bay, i got more or less the same dimensions to pl-12. So if it is longer, it's longer by a percent or so, as much as measurement error can be. But it could also be that missiles have identical body dimensions. Keep in mind, pl-12, as sd-10, is 3934mm long (not 3,85m as sometimes is written on the internet)

if what we saw in j20 (and lately on j16 and j10) is indeed pl-15, then its classification as medium/long range missile must stem from the technological edge, but not from doctrinal or weight class edge. And those classifications change over time. What was regarded as medium range missile in 1960s is a short range missile today. (1960s sparrows having similar range to today's sidewinders)
 

latenlazy

Colonel
The PLA probably asked for neither but AVIC went ahead anyway like they are with the FC-31 and have already succeeded with the PL-12. The PL-12's folding-fin variant got developed earlier likely because it's a more mature design and the project to crop its wings was initiated earlier. The PLA's attitude might be 'four is enough but if you make a variant that can fit six to a J-20, we'll take a look at it'.
I find it unlikely that the PLAAF would authorize development for a missile that they didn’t want, and if they wanted that missile that can only mean, given how specialized the feature is, that they wanted to be able to mount 6.
 

jobjed

Captain
I find it unlikely that the PLAAF would authorize development for a missile that they didn’t want, and if they wanted that missile that can only mean, given how specialized the feature is, that they wanted to be able to mount 6.

And I find it unlikely they would authorise AVIC to develop an entirely new aircraft without a clear PLA tender but hey, whaddayaknow.
 

plawolf

Brigadier
Folding fins is hardly a remotely complex or difficult modification to make. The fins themselves are all detachable, so it’s a mod even ground crews could make to existing missiles. They just need the folding version of the fins delivered.
 

Totoro

Captain
VIP Professional
one can't assume it's a simple issue. otherwise we would have seen foldable amraams years ago, especially now with f-35. I find it more likely that missile requirements and engineering constrains are such that folding fins is simply too costly, performance wise, to be implemented. It adds weight and volume to a system that needs to be as light as possible and as drag-free as possible.
 

latenlazy

Colonel
And I find it unlikely they would authorise AVIC to develop an entirely new aircraft without a clear PLA tender but hey, whaddayaknow.
I can understand a make work decision like the FC-31, which isn’t beyond how Chinese SOEs operate, but a missile is an entirely different matter. You don’t just make a missile whose primary reason for existing is to be able to fit 6 into the J-20’s weapons bay with an off hand shrug. There are systems integration factors to consider. You’d need to coordinate with the J-20’s development to make sure that it can mount 6 of those missiles, or else that completely defeats the point of the missile, and features like how many mounts the weapons bay can hold are strictly dictated by the PLA. In order for the J-20 to mount 6 PL-12s, the J-20 needed to be able to have 6 mounts in its weapons bay, and if the J-20 was developed with 6 mounts in mind that had to have been something decided by the PLA early on.
 
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