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A model of an export version of the PL-12, SD-10A, (bottom-left corner) with JF-17 on display at the Farnborough Airshow 2010.
Type Medium-range, active radar homing air-to-air missile
Place of origin People's Republic of China
Service history
Used by People's Liberation Army Air Force
People's Liberation Army Naval Air Force
Mass 180 kilograms (400 lb)[1]
Diameter 203 millimetres (8.0 in)

Engine Solid fuel rocket
70–100 kilometres (43–62 mi)[2][3]
Active radar[4]

The PL-12 (Chinese: 霹雳-12; pinyin: Pī Lì-12; literally: "Thunderbolt-12") is an active radar-guided beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile developed by the People's Republic of China. It is considered comparable to the American AIM-120 AMRAAM and the Russian R-77.[4]

Development history

The first public information of the Leihua Electronic Technology Research Institute's PL-12 - then called the SD-10 - emerged in 2001.[9] Development was assisted by Vympel NPO and Agat of Russia.[10] Liang Xiaogeng is believed to have been the chief designer.[11] Four successful test firings were made in 2004. By 2005, the missile was also known as the PL-12.[10]


The PL-12 may have initially used the radar and data link from Russian R-77,[12] or systems benefiting from technology transfers from Russia ,with indigenous systems being the rocket motor and airframe among others.[12] The PL-12 may have a passive homing mode for use against jammers and AEW aircraft.[9]


SD-10A on display with the JF-17 light-weight fighter at the Farnborough International Airshow 2010.
  • SD-10 (ShanDian-10, 闪电-10) - Export version of the PL-12. There is also a SD-10B.[8]
  • DK-10A - Surface to air missile with range from 3 to 50 km and altitude from 30 m to 20 km. Also called Sky Dragon 50, SD-50, Tianlong 50, GAS2. [13] Very similar to NASAMS.
  • SD-30 -Surface to air missile, first unveiled at 2018 Zhuhai Airshow.[14]
  • LD-10 (雷电-10) - Anti-radiation missile.[15]


Map with PL-12 operators in blue

Current operators

 People's Republic of China
  • Pakistan Air Force (PAF), 800 ordered.[16]
  • DK-10A missiles used by Sky Dragon 50 SAM system.[17]

See also

Similar weapons


  1. ^ a b O'Rourke: page 21
  2. ^ Medeiros et al.: page 93
  3. ^ Fisher, Richard D. Jr. (21 February 2010). "The Air Balance on the Taiwan Strait". International Assessment and Strategy Center. Retrieved 1 November 2016.
  4. ^ a b Cliff: page 8
  5. ^ O'Rourke: page 77
  6. ^ Gormley et al.: page 55
  7. ^ Gormley et al.: page 13
  8. ^ a b Jennings, Gareth (4 March 2015). "Bulgaria to be offered JF-17 fighter by Pakistan". Archived from the original on 2 July 2015. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
  9. ^ a b Fisher, Richard D. Jr. (2 February 2008). "China's Emerging 5th Generation Air-to-Air Missiles". International Assessment and Strategy Center. Archived from the original on 21 October 2009. Retrieved 1 November 2016.
  10. ^ a b Medeiros et al.: page 92
  11. ^ Fisher, Richard D. Jr. (18 September 2015). "Chief designer reveals data on China's new Luoyang PL-10 AAM". Archived from the original on 5 January 2016. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
  12. ^ a b Fisher, Richard D. Jr. (21 November 2002). "Military Sales to China: Going to Pieces". International Assessment and Strategy Center. Retrieved 1 November 2016.
  13. ^ "Sky Dragon 50 GAS2 Medium-Range Surface-to-Air defense missile". Army Recognition.
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  • Cliff, Roger (May 2010). The Development of China’s Air Force Capabilities (PDF) (Report). RAND Corporation. Retrieved 30 October 2016.
  • Gormley, Dennis M.; Erickson, Andrew S.; Yuan, Jingdong (2014). A Low-Visibility Force Multiplier: Assessing China’s Cruise Missile Ambitions (PDF) (Report). Washington, D.C.: National Defense University Press.
  • Medeiros, Evan S.; Cliff, Roger; Crane, Keith; Mulvenon, James C. (2005). A New Direction for China's Defense Industry. RAND Corporation. ISBN 9780833040794.
  • O'Rourke, Ronald (28 February 2014). China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities—Background and Issues for Congress (PDF) (Report). Congressional Research Service. Retrieved 1 November 2016.

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