Photos of a new Chinese air-launched missile, carried by the Shenyang J-16 fighter jet, have been published online.
Photos, showing the Shenyang J-16 fighter jet of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF), carrying a huge missile under its wing, at an unknown location were published online on Monday. According to initial analysis, the length of the missile is almost six meters.
According to the Combat Aircraft military magazine, the missile in the photos, apparently, is a new Chinese air-launched missile.
The magazine has three main versions about the mysterious missile.
Firstly, it could be “an ultra-long-range weapon intended to defeat high-value assets such as E-3 AWACS surveillance aircraft or RC-135 intelligence-gatherers.” However, Combat Aircraft also noted that if it is such a kind of missile, “it is somewhat surprising” to see that the J-16, which has “a primary air-to-ground role,” carrying it.
Secondly, the magazine presumed that the photos could show an “anti-satellite weapon, equivalent to the ASAT that was tested from the US Air Force F-15A Eagle in the early 1980s.” As the author of the article noted, anti-satellite weapons have been actively being tested by China for some years now, however, “these have not as yet been intended for launch by fighters.”
Another assumption is that the “new missile is not an AAM at all, but an anti-radar missile” – a fully indigenous follow-on to the YJ-91, a Chinese version of the Soviet Kh-31.