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The PL-2 missile (scale is approximate)

The PL-2 (霹雳-2) is a Chinese infrared homing air-to-air missile, it was introduced in Update 1.91 "Night Vision".

Vehicles equipped with this weapon

General info

Missile characteristics
Mass 75 kg
Guidance IR
Aspect Rear-Aspect
Lock range in rear-aspect 3.5 km
Launch range 9 km
Maximum speed 1.7 M
Maximum overload 10 G
Missile guidance time 21 secs
Explosive mass 8.8 kg TNTeq

Effective damage

8.8 kg of TNT equivalent explosives, which does shrapnel and explosive damages to aircraft.

Comparison with analogues

Since PL-2 is the direct licensed copy of Soviet R-3S (AA-2 Atoll) missile, which was reversed engineered from USAF's AIM-9B, these 3 missiles perform very similarly with PL-2 and R-3S being identical in all statistics and both lagging behind AIM-9B a bit in terms of maximum firing range.

Usage in battles

Just like other early IR AAMs, PL-2 suffers from a low tracking rate and overload, and this problem is worsened due to the overall higher mass over its American counterpart. PL-2 is most effective in finishing off careless targets or those that have just depleted all their energy in manoeuvres. It might sometimes have surprise kills over 2 km but this is rare so in most cases launching within 700 m to 1.8 km is the way to go.

Pros and cons


  • High explosive mass
  • Hard to dodge at close range


  • Easy to dodge at range
  • Can't keep up with supersonic jets that are above Mach 1


PL-2, a licensed copy of a reversed-engineered missile- R-3S (or K-13/AA-2 Atoll) which was based from USAF's AIM-9B and the story of these missiles goes back to September, 1958; the month when the very first man-to-man aerial missile kill happened.

One day, after dogfighting with ROCAF F-86F-40, a pilot of PLAAF found a surprising "gift"- an UXO of AIM-9B struck in his MiG-17's (or J-5) wing. After bringing his fighter back to base, PLAAF technicians removed this missile and reported back to the Central Military Commission, this missile was then handed to the Soviet Union for further study. Along with data provided by a spy in Sweden, the Soviets successfully reversed-engineered AIM-9B and thus, R-3S was made.

Later in 30 March, 1961, the Soviet Union has signed technology transfer memorandum and licensed MiG-21F-13, its engine, and R-3S to Mainland China. A year later, with a sample handed to the Chinese, they started pre-production run of the missile and eventually, this missile came into PLAAF's service as the PL-2 and served them for more than 3 decades, as well as different foreign users. Later in 1970s when PLAAF got their hand on another AIM-9E from USAF, they reverse-engineered it and made PL-2B with better rocket engine and fixed the long-lasting problem of the fuse going off before hitting its target.


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-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
AAM  9M39 Igla · R-3R · R-3S · R-13M1 · R-23R · R-23T · R-24R · R-24T · R-27ER(1) · R-27ET(1) · R-27R(1) · R-27T(1) · R-60 · R-60M · R-60MK · R-73(E) · R-77
AGM  9K127 Vikhr · 9M17M Falanga · 9M120 Ataka · 9M120-1 Ataka
  Kh-23M · Kh-25 · Kh-25ML · Kh-29L · Kh-29T · Kh-29TE · Kh-29TD · Kh-66 · S-25L
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