The 4th Research Institute of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) has twice successfully tested a ramjet engine. The ramjet engine is a hypersonic weapon that has triple the range of existing Chinese air-to-air missiles.
In reality, the Institute was looking into solid-fueled ramjets since 2000. And now, it is ready to be mated to a new generation of air-to-air missiles. It could move with the speed of at more than 6200km/h. And any missiles moving at such speeds is likely to be impervious to existing defensive systems.
It could more than triple the range of Chinese BVRAAMs. Although, the speed and burn rate of the engine are controlled by manipulating the ramjet’s air intakes. Its PL-12’s range could vary from 62 miles to over nearly 200 miles.
This Ramjet engine can carry more propellants than rockets of the same size. Additionally, it has the ability to produce more energy from any given payload of fuel through sucking the oxygen out of the atmosphere to burn. And this oxygen supply rate is then controlled through the ramjet’s air intakes.
The Ramjet engine also composed with long-range sensor networks that will help Chinese fighters to go beyond the front lines to destroy vital support aircraft such as air-to-air tankers and early warning radar platforms. It even could outrage the world’s only the 175mm diameter, 12-foot-long MDBA Meteor.
According to the Global Times report, “the Chinese military is now looking at building up a ‘super range detection’ network of sensors to support such long-range air-to-air ability, as well as mating the new engine to air-to-surface and surface-to-surface missiles.”
Although, it is not just the notable for air-to-air roles. It could also be used to produce a range of compact, air-launched supersonic anti-ship missiles, or highly maneuverable, medium-ranged surface-to-air missiles that can be quad-packed into the vertical launch systems of warships such as the Type 055 Renhai destroyer.