The image shows the formation of four jets with varying configurations of air-to-air missiles, two of which are particularly impressive. The fighters in question carry four PL-10s, one PL-12, four PL-15s, and one big PL-17. This loadout spans short to very long-range engagement envelopes, with the PL-17 providing unprecedented reach.
The caption to the photo, seen below, simply reads: “Fighter jets attached to an aviation brigade of the PLA Air Force fly in formation during the real-combat training on November 25, 2023.
The J-16 is a twin-engine, multi-role strike fighter that can operate in all weather conditions. It evolved from the J-11 air superiority fighter and has an added ground attack capability. The J-16 is similar in capabilities to the American F-15E.
It has an AESA radar and is powered by two Chinese Shenyang WS-10A turbofan engines.
The J-16 is estimated to cost between $50 million and $70 million
The PL-17 is a Chinese air-to-air missile with a range of over 400 kilometers. It’s one of the longest-range AAMs in the world. The PL-17 is also known for its advanced guidance systems and size. It’s almost 20 feet long and uses four tail fins and thrust-vectoring controls for manoeuvring. The PL-17 is touted to have a top speed of at least Mach 4.
Key Features of The PL-17:
The PL-17 was first tested on a Shenyang J-16 fighter in 2016
Deployment: The PL-17 can be deployed on Chinese imported Su-30MKK and Su-35 fighters
Service: Chinese state media reported that the PL-17 entered PLAAF service in October 2022