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PL-2 [China]

In 1955 the Kaliningrad (Moscow Oblast) Series Production Plant, which was producing gun turrets for M-4 bomber aircraft and similar equipment, began series production of the first K-5 and K-8 guided air-to-air missiles. The improved version K-8M was certified in 1961 as a combat weapon (designated by ordnance as the R-8M; the letter K referring to Engineering Office and the letter R referring to Air Force). This missile operated with the Oriol [Eagle] radar set.

In January 1960 it was decided to use the homing head of the K-13 missile in K-5 and K-8 missiles to devise a missile for tactical air combat. In 1962 M. Bisnovat's OKB-4 Special Engineering Office was testing K-88 missiles, smaller than the K-8 and with a K-13 head, although the K-88 never moved beyond prototype status.

Subsequent modifications of the K-8 missile led to the K-8M (R-8M1, more widely known as the K-98 or R-98), equipped with a semiactive radar homing head which enabled it to attack airborne targets not only from behind but also head on. The first interceptor-fighter system using the R-98 missile was the Su-15-98 aircraft. The missile was subsequently employed on the on the Yak-28P aircraft with the Oriol-D radar set, and later on the Su-15TM aircraft with the Tajfun [Typhoon]-M radar set.

In 1973 production of the R-98 missile shifted to the final variant, the R-98M (K-8M) with improved firing capabilities and greater resistance to countermeasures. The R-98M missile remains part of the combat load of the Su-15TM aircraft.

All these missiles were produced in two variants, with radar guidance (suffix R) and an infrared guidance (suffix T) respectively. The training version is the UR-8M, which first entered service in 1966.


Year 1961
Type medium-range intercept missile
Modifications Semi-active I-band and J-band radar guidance
Passive infra-red guidance
Wingspan 1.3 m
Length (SAR version) 4.1 m
Length (IR version) 4.0 m
Diameter 0.28 m
Launch weight 275 kg
Max. speed 3420 km/h (Mach=3.0)
Maximum range 19 km
Propulsion single stage solid propellant rocket motor
Guidance semi-active I-band and J-band radar homing or passive infra-red homing
Warhead proximity-fuzed high-explosive blast
Carried by Yak-28, Su-15
Service USSR, Bulgaria, Romaina, Poland, East Germany, Hungary, Czechoslovakia

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