The Chinese Air Force is building a mystery missile designed to turn the tables on America's air power advantage.
The weapon, tentatively known as PL-XX, is a very-long-range missile designed to strike enemy aircraft loitering just beyond the edge of an air battle. The point is to shoot down the tankers, airborne early warning planes, and other support aircraft that U.S. combat jets rely upon during wartime. Stripped of these forces, U.S. air power would operate at a serious disadvantage, shifting the air battle in China’s favor.
U.S. warplanes need plenty of support to reach their wartime potential. In that way, tankers, command and control aircraft, and reconnaissance planes are the backbone that let fighters operate at long ranges.