Finally, a profile view.
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There is nothing about cruise missiles which necessitates a slant launch (especially given the expected high altitude flight profile of a hypersonic cruise missile). Multiple VLS-launched cruise missiles are vertically launched and subsequently tip over towards the target during the ascent. That said, I do think it could certainly possibly be some kind of ultra-long-range SAM, like an SM-3 type of missile designed to intercept ballistic missiles.Looks like a SAM to me. If this is a new long range SAM, this is by itself a very exciting development.
--- Long mid body fins
--- Short stubby booster
--- Launched vertically from a tube.
A ballistic missile is free from long mid body fins, except for small fins at the bottom of the second stage.
BMs use a long primary stage rocket.
BMs in the PLARF are launched not from tubes.
Cruise missiles are launched from tubes and do have stubby boosters but on land, they are launched from a slanted position, nor do they feature four mid body wings like that.
The size of the missile and its launch canister relative to the wheeled trailer would be consistent to a large SAM.
The YJ-18 is clearly an indigenized Klub.definitely shorter and fatter than the Russian Klub.
The picture doesn't capture the later version like you see on the parade where the large spine that supports the rocket could be containing its own fuel.Man, one wonders where they manage to cram even enough fuel for just a few km range. It's as if there's less than a meter of space between the terminal projectile and the engine, for fuel. That's likely less than 200 liters of fuel (160 kg). I don't believe the frontal "hollow shell" part of the missile can hold much if any fuel, as it has to be structurally beefy to hold the terminal projectile in place.
Then again, Tomahawk is usually said to hold 350 to 450 kg of fuel. And allegedly covers 1800 to 2500 km.
So... imagine if YJ18 somehow had 50% beefier fuel tank...