The PLAAF Now Has Weapons Comparable to U. S. Weapons

The weaponry—air-to-air, air-to-surface, and surface-to-air—avail­able to the PLAAF has obviously advanced dramatically since the mid-1990s. As discussed above, new AAMs and precision-guided munitions (PGMs) are entering the force, providing China with much improved capabilities across the board. Whereas in 1995 the PLAAF would have gone to war with out­moded AAMs and “dumb” bombs, its inventory today includes weapons—of both Russian and Chinese manufacture—that are in the same class as those carried by USAF and U. S. Navy combat aircraft, including laser – and satellite- guided bombs and guided missiles of various sorts. Tables 8-8 and 8-9 com­pare similar weapons from each side’s arsenal.

Table 8-8. U. S. and Chinese Air-to-Air Missiles

Designation

Year Introduced

Type

Range (kilometers)

AIM-9X (U. S.)

2003

IRH

>10

PL-9

early-1990s

IRH

15-22

R-73/AA-11

mid-1990s

IR

20

AIM—120—C5 (U. S.)

1996

ARH

50

R-77/AA-12

~2003

ARH

50+

PL—12/SD—10

~2004

ARH

70

Source: Jane’s {2010)

ARH: active radar homing IRH: infrared homing

Table 8-9. U. S. and Chinese Air-to-Surface Missiles

Designation

Type

Guidance

Range

(kilometers)

Warhead

(kilograms)

AGM-114 Hellfire (U. S.)

ATGM

Semiactive laser

9

12

AR-1

ATGM

Semiactive laser

8

10

AGM-88 HARM (U. S.)

ARM

INS/passive radar

80

66

Kh-31/AS-17/YJ-91

ARM

INS/passive radar

15-110

87

AGM-84E SLAM (U. S.)

ASM

INS/GPS/IIR

95

222

KD-88

ASM

INS/EO/RF

”100+"

u/k

AGM-84H SLAM-ER (U. S.)

ASM

INS/GPS/IIR

280

360

KD-63

LACM

INS/EO

200

512

BGM-109TLAM (U. S.)

LACM

INS/GPS/TERCOM

1,200

535-1,360

HN-1

LACM

INS/GPS/TERCOM

600

400

ATGM: antitank guided missile ARM: antiradiation missile ASM: air-to-surface missile

EO: electro-optical GPS: global positioning system IIR: imaging infrared

INS: inertial navigation system LACM: land-attack cruise missile TERCOM: terrain comparison and matching

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