Update: China’s J-20 Spotted With New Missile

Ok, who can tell me what this is? Any educated guess welcome. For me, it looks like the Russian R-77 (AA-12 Adder), but it could be a variant of the SD-10 (particularly the surface-to-air variant).

According to the Want China Times (2013-09-23): “A new mysterious type of missile has been spotted on the second prototype of the J-20 — China’s first stealth fighter — with a serial number of 2002, reports the state run People’s Daily, citing a video clip released on Chinese military websites.

According to video clip, the missile is white in color and unlike the F-22 Raptor fighter of the United States Air Force, which holds its missile racks inside the internal weapons bays, the J-20 carries this mysterious missile outside of its fuselage.

Experts claim that after the J-20 fighter takes off, the missile will remain outside the fuselage even after the missile bays are closed. Song Xinzhi, a Chinese military analyst, said that two missiles were seen outside the missile bays during the flight. One is a regular medium-range air-to-air missile with wings, the other is a new missile without any wings.

Song said that the mysterious missile looks more like a pencil than a traditional air-to-air missile, adding that without wings, the missile must be powered with thrust vector control. Even though the function of this missile remains a mystery, Song stressed that it must have been developed with new techonology.”


Attempts by Richard Fisher, senior fellow with the US-based International Assessment and Strategy Center, to post a comment on this blog were unsuccessful. Instead, I am posting this as an update to allow his comment to be shared:

“This is an old story. My earliest pic of this AAM is from February 27, the day it started appearing on the usual Chinese web pages. Want Want is terribly late in picking up on this.

That said…

This new Chinese optically-guided AAM was something of a surprise when it emerged in late February. Since the first mention of a Chinese 5th gen AAM from Luoyang officials at the 2002 Zhuhai Airshow, we have been expecting something highly maneuverable with thrust vectoring. But since 2002 assessments tended toward this new AAM looking more like the Denel A-Darter than anything else, at least as has been prompted by Chinese sources. South African sources also have confirmed China’s interest in A-Darter, but were also quick to assure that they concluded there was to be no profit in cooperation with China, ending that venture. This AAM seen on the J-20 is larger than an A-Darter and may even be larger than the German IRS-T, which it seems to be closer to, at least in concept. Longer range optically guided AAMs are the latest trend in this class of AAM due to ability of modern jamming technology to counter active guided medium range AAMs. So far its designation is not known; this may be the long awaited “PL-10″ or it may be another AAM. But it is supermaneuverable and its size would seem to confer near-medium range AAM reach. It will likely be paired with a new helmet display system and it is reasonable that new 4+ generation fighters out of Chengdu and Shenyang will feature this AAM.”