YJ-91

YJ-91

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YJ-91 is the Chinese version of the Kh-31
Kh-31
The Kh-31 is a Russian air-to-surface missile carried by aircraft such as the MiG-29 or Su-27. It is a sea skimming cruise missile with a range of or more and capable of Mach 3.5, the first supersonic anti-ship missile that could be launched by tactical aircraft.There are several variants, it is...

. YJ is short for Ying Ji (Yingji, 鹰击) meaning eagle strike. After purchasing 200 Kh-31Ps from Russia, China decided to develop its own version, because the original Kh-31 missile did not fully satisfy Chinese requirements. The resulting YJ-91 missile was developed by Hongdu Aviation Industry Corporation, the same manufacturer of the Silkworm missile
Silkworm missile
The Shang Yo or SY-series , and the Hai Ying or HY-series were early Chinese anti-ship missiles. They were derived from the Soviet P-15 Termit missile.The HY-1 and HY-2 received the NATO reporting name Silkworm...

. The experience gained from YJ-91 also helped the engine development (basically copied the engine) of another supersonic missile indigenously developed in China, YJ-12
YJ-12
YJ-12 is a little known supersonic Chinese anti-ship missile developed in the 1990s. Partially due to the limited information available on YJ-12, it is often mistaken for another little known Chinese supersonic anti-ship cruise missile YJ-22, the Chinese equivalent of SS-N-22...

, which is sometimes non-Chinese sources confuse it with YJ-91, as both share the same origin for their propulsion systems.

YJ-91 Anti-radiation missile


The anti-radiation
Anti-radiation missile
An anti-radiation missile is a missile which is designed to detect and home on an enemy radio emission source. Typically these are designed for use against an enemy radar, although jammers and even radios used for communication can also be targeted in this manner.- Air-to-Ground :Most ARM designs...

 version of the YJ-91 missile was developed from the Kh-31P, which uses a wide array of seekers to cover the entire radar frequency band. The Chinese were not satisfied with the requirement to include multiple seekers and preferred to have a single seeker capable of covering multiple frequency bands, like the AGM-88 HARM
AGM-88 HARM
The AGM-88 High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile is a tactical, air-to-surface missile designed to home in on electronic transmissions coming from surface-to-air radar systems. It was originally developed by Texas Instruments as a replacement for the AGM-45 Shrike and AGM-78 Standard ARM system...

. However, such ambitions proved to be too great for the Chinese microelectronics industry. They could not achieve the goal in a single step within the required timeline originally specified by the Chinese military. Instead, a two-step approach was implemented: The completion of the development of a single seeker covering multiple frequency bands was pushed back, while a stopgap measure was adopted in the meantime. The Kh-31P was modified so that the seekers could be rapidly changed in the forward airstrips (providing the specialized tooling is available), so that missile would not need to be sent back to depots or factories to perform such operation.

The resulting anti-radiation version of YJ-91 missile has a slightly increased the range to 120 km
KM
KM, Km, or km may stand for:*Kilometre *Kernel methods*Kettle Moraine High School*Khmer language *Kuomintang , a centre-right political party in the Republic of China on Taiwan...

 in comparison to 110 km of the original Kh-31P. In addition to a seeker that covers multiple frequency bands, additional measures to upgrade the missile are in development, such as, an open software architecture. Additional measures reportedly include prioritizing threats, which could be uploaded to the onboard computer from the ground or by the pilots while in flight. Threats could then be updated in real time. The multi-band seeker is of higher priority.

YJ-91 Anti-ship missile


The Chinese have also developed an anti-ship
Anti-ship missile
Anti-ship missiles are guided missiles that are designed for use against ships and large boats. Most anti-ship missiles are of the sea-skimming type, many use a combination of inertial guidance and radar homing...

 version of the YJ-91 missile. However, this version is an indigenous development of the Chinese from the Kh-31P anti-radiation missile, and not from the Kh-31A anti-ship missile. China did not order any of the Kh-31A. The Chinese felt that the original Kh-31A could not fully satisfy their requirements, because the high-low trajectory of the missile meant early detection, thus it is prone to interception. In contrast, the low-low trajectory usually adopted by subsonic anti-ship missile
Anti-ship missile
Anti-ship missiles are guided missiles that are designed for use against ships and large boats. Most anti-ship missiles are of the sea-skimming type, many use a combination of inertial guidance and radar homing...

s better utilizes the supersonic speed of Kh-31A. Such a trajectory shortens the detection range and the high-speed reduces the target’s reaction time, once the missile is detected. As a result, China did not order any Kh-31A anti-ship missiles.

The resulting anti-ship version of the YJ-91 is capable of sea-skimming. Its cruising altitude is no more than 20 metre
Metre
The metre , symbol m, is the base unit of length in the International System of Units . Originally intended to be one ten-millionth of the distance from the Earth's equator to the North Pole , its definition has been periodically refined to reflect growing knowledge of metrology...

 above sea level. At the terminal attack stage (usually after the active radar seeker of the missile is turned on), the missile drops to 7 [metre above sea level. This attack altitude can be further reduced to just 1.2 metre
Metre
The metre , symbol m, is the base unit of length in the International System of Units . Originally intended to be one ten-millionth of the distance from the Earth's equator to the North Pole , its definition has been periodically refined to reflect growing knowledge of metrology...

 above sea level, when the sea state allows. Alternatively, the missile can be programmed to popup-and-dive like that the Boeing Harpoon
Boeing Harpoon
The Harpoon is an all-weather, over-the-horizon, anti-ship missile system, developed and manufactured by McDonnell Douglas . In 2004, Boeing delivered the 7,000th Harpoon unit since the weapon's introduction in 1977...

. However, such sea-skimming capability comes at the expense of maximum range: in comparison to the original 70 km range of the Kh-31A, the maximum range of YJ-91 anti-ship missile was reduced by more than a quarter to 50 km. Like the anti-radiation version, it is reported that many planned upgrades are in development. An application for research grants to develop a submerged launched version of YJ-91 anti-ship missile once appeared on Chinese websites on the Internet, indicating China is attempting to develop a version for its submarine fleet.

Specifications

  • Length: 4.7 metre
  • Diameter: 0.3602 metre
  • Weight: 600 kg
  • Warhead: 90 kg
  • Speed: > Mach
    Mach number
    Mach number is the speed of an object moving through air, or any other fluid substance, divided by the speed of sound as it is in that substance for its particular physical conditions, including those of temperature and pressure...

     4.5
  • Minimum range: 5 km
  • Maximum range: 50 km (anti-ship version), 120 km (anti-radiation version)
  • Engine: ramjet with solid rocket fuel booster
  • Guidance: active radar homing (anti-ship version) & passive radar homing (anti-radiation version)
  • Developer: Hongdu Aviation Industry Corporation