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The PL-5B missile (scale is approximate)

PL-5B is a domestic heat-seeker AAM developed in PRC by Institute 612, Ministry of Aviation Industry (now Luoyang Electro-optics Technology Development Centre). A vast improvement over the previous model, the PL-2, with higher tracking rate and overload.

Vehicles equipped with this weapon

General info

  • Length: 3.128 m
  • Maximum overload: 20G
  • Launch overload limit: 4G
  • Lock distance from rear-aspect:5.5 km
  • Max range: 18 km
  • Warhead: 4.76kg HBX, equivalent to 7.62 kg TNT

Effective damage

The warhead of PL-5B was filled with 4.76 kg of HBX, equivalent to 7.62 kg of TNT and comes with proximity fuse that helps to blast enemy aircraft into pieces.

Comparison with analogues

At the same tier, the AIM-9J and the AIM-9P are very common and the PL-5B in many ways is similar to them in terms of explosive mass and overload, while it also suffers the problem of launch overload limiter. The Matra Magic R.550 is in many ways better than the PL-5B but in the right hands, they can be equally lethal.

Usage in battles

The best way to use the PL-5B is do not trigger-happy on these missiles, 20G overload a 8 kg TNT equivalent explosive mass and do seem wonderful at first glance. But this missile comes with drawbacks: its rather heavy overall mass of the missile itself as well as a launch overload limit at 4G. So pick up targets who is a least 1.5 km apart and those that might not pay attention to their tail, with some distance this missile can do it jobs well on hitting its targets. Very likely your target will not ever have the luxury to do a emergency landing at base, either they has been shattered by the missile or they barely gain control to the aircraft.

Pros and cons


  • Higher explosive mass among the same tier IR AAMs that can make short work of enemies
  • Sufficient 20G overload
  • Sufficient top speed


  • 4G launch overload limit that could be troublesome
  • Somewhat less agile due to the overall high mass


The PL-5B started its development during the 1970s in parallel with its "brother", the PL-5A SARM when Mainland China was in their crisis (the Cultural Revolution). While it had already done aerial simulation tests in September of 1972, it came into service in 1986 while the PL-5A had been cancelled 3 years prior due to outdated technology.

After 2 decades of development and the technologies learnt from foreign IR AAMs, CATIC introduced the latest export-intended version of this missile- PL-5EII, with a brand new multi-band tracker and able to lock from front-aspect, enhancing this missile to a new level.


Excellent additions to the article would be video guides, screenshots from the game, and photos.

See also

Links to the articles on the War Thunder Wiki that you think will be useful for the reader, for example:

  • reference to the article about the variant of the weapon;
  • references to approximate analogues by other nations and research trees.

External links

Paste links to sources and external resources, such as:

  • topic on the official game forum;
  • other literature.

AAM  AIM-7C Sparrow · AIM-7D Sparrow · AIM-7E Sparrow · AIM-7E-2 Sparrow
  AIM-9B Sidewinder · AIM-9C Sidewinder · AIM-9D Sidewinder · AIM-9E Sidewinder · AIM-9G Sidewinder · AIM-9J Sidewinder · AIM-9L Sidewinder · AIM-9P Sidewinder
  AIM-92 Stinger
AGM  AGM-12B Bullpup · AGM-12C Bullpup · AGM-22 · AGM-65A · AGM-65B · AGM-114B Hellfire · AGM-114K Hellfire II · BGM-71D TOW-2
AAM  AIM-9B FGW.2 Sidewinder
AGM  HOT-1 · HOT-2 TOW · HOT-3 · PARS 3 LR
SAM  Roland
AAM  9M39 Igla · R-3R · R-3S · R-13M1 · R-23R · R-23T · R-60 · R-60M
AGM  9K127 Vikhr · 9M17M Falanga · 9M17P Falanga-PV · 9M120 Ataka · 9M120-1 Ataka
  Kh-23M · Kh-25 · Kh-25ML · Kh-29L · Kh-29T · Kh-66
ATGM  3M7 · 9M14 · 9M113 Konkurs · 9M114 Shturm · 9M123 · 9M133
SAM  9M311 · 9M311-1M
AAM  Fireflash · Firestreak · Red Top · Skyflash · SRAAM
ATGM  BAe Swingfire · MILAN · MILAN 2 · ZT3
SAM  Starstreak
ATGM  Type 64 MAT · Type 79
SAM  Type 91
AAM  PL-2 · PL-5B
ATGM  HJ-73 · HJ-73E
SAM  HN-6 ·
SAM  Mistral SATCP
AAM  AA-20 Nord · Matra R530 · Matra R530E · Matra R550 Magic 1 · Mistral · Shafrir
AGM  9M14-2 Malyutka-2 · AS-20 Nord · AS-30 Nord · HOT-1 · HOT-2 TOW · HOT-3
SAM  Roland · VT1
AAM  RB24 · RB24J · RB71
AGM  Rb05A
ATGM  Rbs 55 · Rbs 56
SAM  Rbs 70
  AAM = Air-to-Air Missile   AGM = Air-to-Ground Missile   ATGM = Anti-Tank Guided Missile (Ground mounts)   SAM = Surface-to-Air Missile