The Aspide-1A (the Italian name of the asp; aka A-missile [A-弹] in PLAAF service) is a semi-active radar-homing missile developed by Selenia based on the AIM-7 Sparrow's design with new homing radar, used by the Italian Air Force and exported to multiple foreign militaries including the PLAAF.
Vehicles equipped with this weapon
The overall dimensions of the Aspide-1A is identical to later models of the AIM-7 Sparrow, the only major difference is the homing radar onboard.
|Missile||Mass (kg)||Guidance||Signal||Lock range (km)||Launch range (km)||Maximum speed (M)|| Maximum
| Missile guidance
| Explosive Mass|
(TNT equivalent) (kg)
The 8 kg of PBXN-4 explosives onboard has a 10.24 kg TNT equivalent, which can cause explosive and shrapnel damage to targeted aircraft.
Comparison with analogues
Usage in battles
The Aspide-1A is intended to intercept high-altitude or head-on targets, so the best way to utilize it is to aim for enemies who are flying high or in head-on range - they might not have sufficient manoeuvrability to dodge the missile. However, if coupled with an inferior radar, it is best to use the Aspide-1A against only targets which are higher than you, to avoid ground clutter interference.
Pros and cons
- High acceleration and flight speed
- Decent G overload comparable to a Skyflash and AIM 7E2
- Large explosive payload
Despite the very close resemblance to US-made AIM-7 Sparrows (which Selenia [now MDBA] did get the license for to build domestically in Italy), Aspide missiles utilized the latest electronics and rocket engines developed in Italy, serving as the selected SARH missile for Italian Air Force's Starfighters.
It was then exported to multiple foreign countries including Mainland China, where they even intended to buy the production line from Italy. However, the 1989 Beijing Crackdown and the subsequence European Economic Community embargo halted the import of Aspide into PLAAF service, forcing them to reverse-engineer from existing stocks. The Aspide's homing radar was also installed onto HQ-61 SAM, becoming what is now known as the PL-11 in the early 2000s.
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