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The PL-5B missile (scale is approximate)

The PL-5B is a Chinese infrared homing air-to-air missile, it was introduced in Update "Red Skies".

Vehicles equipped with this weapon

General info

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

Missile characteristics
Mass 84.5 kg
Guidance IR
Aspect Rear-aspect
Lock range (rear-aspect) 5.5 km
Launch range 16 km
Maximum speed 2.5 M
Maximum overload 30 G
Missile guidance time 23 secs
Explosive mass 7.62 kg TNTeq

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 a 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, its acceleration speed is a two-bladed sword- on one hand, it caused overshoot due to its immense acceleration to top speed in merely a second; on the other hand, this acceleration also helped to shoot down enemies who had bailed from their manoeuvre, they would have a hard time dodging a missile travelling at Mach 2.2.

Usage in battles

PL-5Bs can be used in 3 ways: surprising the enemy, using it as a dogfight missile due to its surprising off-boresight capabilities and long-range snipes. Due to its massive acceleration, the PL-5B can reach a higher top speed than conventional missiles at lower altitudes. For example, whereas an AIM-9P/9J would take 3 to 4 seconds to reach its target from 2 km on the deck at high speeds, the PL-5 covers this same distance in less than 2 seconds. The missile can track targets at around 1.5 km (anywhere closer will drastically decrease the odds to payback on your foe), so surprising enemies who just missed their shots upon you or those who are chasing teammates and didn't pay enough attention to your existence is suggested to maximize PL-5B; alternatively, the immense acceleration and speed also means PL-5B can even surprise targets at even up to 6 km given the missile does constantly tracking on your designated target.

Pros and cons


  • Higher explosive mass among the same tier IR AAMs that can make short work of enemies
  • Excellent 30G overload
  • Missile without launch overload limits such as AIM-9G and SRAAM
  • Immense acceleration
  • Higher range than most conventional IR missiles except the AIM-9D/G
  • Short burntime while retaining very long range


  • Somewhat sensitive to the sun and flares


In the late 1960s, as the PL-2 was already deemed obsolete, the need for new SARH and IR missiles arose alongside the ongoing new interceptor projects. Both PL-3 and PL-5 had separate SARH (PL-5A [甲]) and IR (PL-5B [乙]) designs using the same missile airframe. Development started on both projects in April 1966, and the PL-5B had better progress by the late 1960s when it could already start its ground and airborne tests. Although the PL-5B had already completed its required tests by the 1970s, the Cultural Revolution hindered its further certifications and it would only enter PLAAF service by September 1986, while the PL-5A was cancelled in 1983 during budget cuts in the early times of economic reform.

Soon after the certification of PL-5B, the limited-all-aspect PL-5C and later PL-5E entered PLAAF service in the early 1990s alongside new domestic jets. The final version of the PL-5, named PL-5EII with a new IR seeker and up to 40G overload, entered service as the replacement of earlier missiles and was used by the JH-7A and the export JF-17 (FC-1) Thunder.


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

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

AAM  AIM-54A Phoenix · AIM-54C Phoenix · ATAS (AIM-92) · AIM-120A · AIM-120B
Sparrow  AIM-7C · AIM-7D · AIM-7E · AIM-7E-2 · AIM-7F · AIM-7M
Sidewinder  AIM-9B · AIM-9C · AIM-9D · AIM-9E · AIM-9G · AIM-9H · AIM-9J · AIM-9L · AIM-9M · AIM-9P
AGM  AGM-22 · APKWS II (M151) · APKWS II (M282) · BGM-71D TOW-2
Bullpup  AGM-12B Bullpup · AGM-12C Bullpup
Hellfire  AGM-114B Hellfire · AGM-114K Hellfire II
Maverick  AGM-65A · AGM-65B · AGM-65D
TOW  BGM-71 · BGM-71A · BGM-71B · BGM-71C
SAM  FIM-92 Stinger · MIM-72 · MIM146
Naval SAM  RIM-24A
AAM  AIM-9B FGW.2 Sidewinder · Flz Lwf 63/80
AGM  9M14M Malyutka · Flz Lwf LB 82 · HOT-1 · HOT-2 TOW · HOT-3 · PARS 3 LR
AShM  AS.34 Kormoran
SAM  Roland
Naval SAM  Strela-2M
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AGM  9K127 Vikhr · 9M17M Falanga · 9M120 Ataka · 9M120-1 Ataka
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ATGM  3M7 · 9M14 · 9M113 Konkurs · 9M114 Shturm · 9M123 Khrizantema · 9M133 · 9M133FM3 · 9M133M-2
SAM  95Ya6 · 9M311 · 9M311-1M · 9M331 · 9M37M
Naval SAM  Volna-M
AAM  Fireflash · Firestreak · Red Top · Skyflash · Skyflash SuperTEMP · SRAAM · R-Darter
AGM  AS.12 · ZT-6 Mokopa
AShM  AJ.168
ATGM  BAe Swingfire · MILAN · MILAN 2 · ZT3
SAM  Starstreak
AAM  AAM-3 · AAM-4
AGM  Ki-148 I-Go Model 1B
ATGM  Type 64 MAT · Type 79 Jyu-MAT
SAM  Type 81 SAM-1C · Type 91
AAM  PL-2 · PL-5B · PL-5C · PL-7 · PL-8 · TY-90 · PL-12
AGM  AKD-9 · AKD-10 · HJ-8A · HJ-8C · HJ-8E · HJ-8H
ATGM  302 · HJ-73 · HJ-73E · HJ-9 · QN201DD · QN502CDD
AAM  Aspide-1A
Naval AShM  Nettuno
SAM  Mistral SATCP
AAM  AA-20 Nord · Matra R511 · Matra R530 · Matra R530E · Matra Super 530D · Matra Super 530F · Matra R550 Magic 1 · Matra R550 Magic 2 · Mistral · MICA-EM
AGM  9M14-2 Malyutka-2 · AS-20 Nord · AS-30 Nord · AS-30L Nord · HOT-1 · HOT-2 TOW · HOT-3 · Spike ER
SAM  Roland · VT1
AAM  RB24 · RB24J · RB71 · RB 74 · RB 74(M) · RB 99
AGM  Rb05A · RB 53 Bantam · RB 55B Heli TOW · RB 55C Heli TOW · RB 75
ATGM  Rbs 55 · Rbs 56
SAM  Rbs 70
AAM  Shafrir · Shafrir 2 · Python 3 · Derby
ATGM  Spike-LR2 · Spike-MR
  AAM = Air-to-Air Missile   AGM = Air-to-Ground Missile   AShM = Anti-Ship Missile   ATGM = Anti-Tank Guided Missile (Ground mounts)   SAM = Surface-to-Air Missile