A model of an export version of the PL-12, SD-10A, (bottom-left corner) with a Pakistan Air Force JF-17 on display at the Farnborough Airshow 2010.
TypeMedium-range, active radar homing air-to-air missile
Place of originPeople's Republic of China
Service history
Used byPeople's Liberation Army Air Force

People's Liberation Army Naval Air Force
Pakistan Air Force

Myanmar Air Force
Mass180 kilograms (400 lb)[1]

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

The PL-12 (Chinese: 霹雳-12; pinyin: Pī Lì-12; lit. '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 US 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.[10] Development was assisted by Vympel NPO and Agat of Russia.[11] Liang Xiaogeng is believed to have been the chief designer.[12] Four successful test firings were made in 2004. By 2005, the missile was also known as the PL-12.[11]


The PL-12 may use the radar and data link from the Russian R-77,[13] or otherwise use systems benefiting from technology transfers from Russia. The missile uses a Chinese rocket motor[10] and airframe.[13] The PL-12 may have a passive homing mode for use against jammers and AEW aircraft.[10]


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.[9]


Map with PL-12 operators in blue

Current operators

 People's Republic of China
  • Pakistan Air Force (PAF), 600 ordered. 425 received as of 2018.[14]

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. ^ Hallion etc al.: page 195
  6. ^ O'Rourke: page 77
  7. ^ Gormley et al.: page 55
  8. ^ Gormley et al.: page 13
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ a b c 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.
  11. ^ a b Medeiros et al.: page 92
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^
  15. ^ "SIPRI Trade Register". Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
  • 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.
  • Hallion, Richard P.; Cliff, Roger P.; Saunder, Phillip C., eds. (2012). The Chinese Air Force: Evolving Concepts, Roles, and Capabilities (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.