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Update – Airshow China 2022: New airborne stand-off weapons unveiled

The new AKF98A stand-off missile seen fitted onto a PLAAF Xi'an JH-7A2 fighter and a Shenyang J-16 fighter at the Airshow China 2022. Although the designation of the two missiles is identical, both feature design differences suggesting two different configurations or versions. (Janes)

Two new air-to-surface weapons were unveiled at the Airshow China 2022 exhibition, which concluded on 13 November. The systems – not previously seen publicly – included the AKF98A and the AKF088C.

According to Janes analysis, the AKF98A appears to be an autonomous precision-guided stand-off missile, in a similar class to Lockheed Martin's AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) and MBDA's Storm Shadow stand‐off land-attack cruise missile.

The airframe of the AKF98A is optimised for low observable stealthy performance with a diamond-shaped front section and trapezoid cross-section body.

The nose section of the missile is presumed to house a terminal seeker of unknown type (possibly imaging infrared), guidance computers, and a radio altimeter.

The missile's rectangular box payload section has a hardback with attachment lugs, and is fitted with two flip-out rectangular folding wings on its upper surface. The rear propulsion section houses the engine and control surfaces. With no air intakes visible, it is assumed that the missile uses a turbojet engine with a recessed ventral intake at the bottom of the missile body.

Additional details are not available but the AKF98A is estimated by Janes to be about 4 m long, with a height of 490 mm, a maximum bottom width of 750 mm, and a weight of about 1,000 kg.

Images from Airshow China 2022 show the AKF98A fitted to a People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) Xi'an JH-7A2 fighter-bomber and a Shenyang J-16 multirole fighter aircraft.

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