China may be developing new long-range air-to-air missile

China may be testing a new, long-range air-to-air missile that could take out early warning aircraft and aerial refueling aircraft, a state-run newspaper said on Thursday, after pictures of the new missile surfaced online.

President Xi Jinping is overseeing an ambitious military modernization program that includes stealth jets and aircraft carriers. The country has also tested anti-satellite missiles.

The official China Daily said the People’s Liberation Army had recently posted pictures online of a J-11B fighter carrying a large, unidentified missile during drills last year.

Air force researcher Fu Qianshao told the newspaper he believed the missile was designed to hit distant high-value targets, such as early warning aircraft, normally outside actual combat zones.

That represents an improved capability over existing Chinese missiles, which have ranges of less than 100 km (62 miles). (Note: China’s PL-15 has a range between 150 and 200 km. See

“The best solution to this problem I can figure out is to send a super-manoeuvrable fighter jet with very long-range missiles to destroy those high-value targets, which are the ‘eyes’ of enemy jets,” Fu said.

“So the successful development of this potential new missile would be a major breakthrough.”

The missile may even have an actual range of 400 km (249 miles), exceeding those used by Western air forces, and dive down on targets from the stratosphere, he added.

The air force has yet to formally comment on the new missile.

Chinese state media periodically report on new weapons before there is official confirmation of their existence.

The military modernization comes as China has rattled nerves around the region with increasingly assertive moves to bolster its sovereignty claims in the South China Sea and over Taiwan, which it regards as a breakaway province.

China’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, recently sailed around the self-ruled island in what China called a routine drill, but which prompted Taiwan to scramble fighter jets and navy ships.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Source: Reuters “China may be developing new long-range air-to-air missile”

Note: This is Reuters report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


7 Comments on “China may be developing new long-range air-to-air missile”

  1. tito says:

    The missile may even have an actual range of 400 km (249 miles), exceeding those used by Western air forces

    better late than never….


  2. Simon says:

    China did’nt copy America with its VLRAAMs, it is better than anything anywhere in the world.
    Were is this clown Wei when you need him?


  3. Steven says:

    Guess China has been asleep for several decades. The original long range air to air missile was the Phoenix.
    “The Phoenix has several guidance modes and achieves its longest range by using mid-course updates from the F-14A/B AWG-9 radar (APG-71 radar in the F-14D) as it climbs to cruise between 80,000 ft (24,000 m) and 100,000 ft (30,000 m) at close to Mach 5. Phoenix uses this high altitude to gain gravitational potential energy, which is later converted into kinetic energy as the missile dives at high velocity towards its target. At around 11 miles (18 km) from the target, the missile activates its own radar to provide terminal guidance. Minimum engagement range for the Phoenix is around 2 nmi (3.7 km) and active homing would initiate upon launch.”

    China is a day late and a dollar short.


    • johnleecan says:


      The phoenix is a failure. Used by the US navy only two times and both times it failed to hit its target against the much weaker Iraqi Air Force. It was also too heavy and had problems of cracks in its propellant so these missiles were never carried for years even before its retirement in 2004.


    • Steve says:

      The Phoenix like most things American is obsolete crap, can’t hit the damn target. USA is 20 billion $$$ very short and days are numbered and counting…just like the F35 F22 DDG1000.


    • ChinKwaiLaan says:

      Some failures of the Phoenix missile:
      On January 5, 1999, a pair of US F-14s fired two Phoenixes at Iraqi MiG-25s southeast of Baghdad. Both AIM-54s’ rocket motors failed and neither missile hit its target.[5][6]
      On September 9, 1999 another US F-14 launched an AIM-54 at an Iraqi MiG-23 that was heading south into the no-fly zone from Al Taqaddum air base west of Baghdad. The missile missed, eventually going into the ground after the Iraqi fighter reversed course and fled north.[7]
      Source: AIM-54 Phoenix, Wikipedia.