HongQi 9 Surface-to-Air Missile System
The HongQi 9 (HQ-9) is a long-range, all-altitude, all-weather surface-to-air missile system developed by the China Academy of Defence Technology (also known as CASIC 2nd Academy), a subordinate of the China Aerospace Science & Industry Corporation (CASIC). The HongQi 9 was designed to engage multiple airborne targets such as fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters at all altitudes, with limited anti-ballistic missile capability. The HongQi 9 is currently serving with both the PLA Air Force (SAM corps) and also in the PLA Navy in the form of ship-based HaiHongQi 9 (HHQ-9).
The HongQi 9 development began in the early 1980s, initially based on the U.S. Patriot air defence missile system that China obtained via an unknown third-party country. Like the Patriot, the HongQi 9 uses a ‘Track-Via-Missile’ (TVM) terminal guidance system and was originally designed to be launched from a Patriot-style slant-positioned box-shape container launcher. The missile uses a two-stage solid rocket engine. Due to China’s substandard solid fuel rocket technology, the HongQi 9 was seriously oversize – the first-stage was 700mm in diameter and the second-stage was 560mm in diameter. As a result, each launch vehicle could only carry two missile tube launchers.
HHQ-9 missile (Chinese Internet)
After China obtained the S-300PMU SAM system from Russia in the mid-1990s, certain S-300PMU technologies were used to improve the HongQi 9 design. The HongQi 9 is believed to have benefited from S-300's solid rocket, aerodynamic layout, gas-dynamic spoilers, and launcher technologies. This has resulted in a modified HongQi 9 which is ‘cold-launched’ vertically from a S-300-style tube launcher system. Four tube launchers are carried onboard a 8X8 TEL vehicle with cross-country capability.
The HongQi 9 was initially developed to replace the PLA’s bulk of obsolete HongQi 2 (Chinese copy of the Soviet/Russian SA-2 Guideline), but the slow progress in the development has led to the PLA’s decision to purchase additional S-300PMU missiles from Russia. By the time the HongQi 9 was ready for operational deployment in the late 1990s, the missile was already behind foreign air-defence missiles such as U.S. PAC3 and Russian S-300PMU2 in capability and performance. Only a small number of the HongQi 9 has been fielded by the PLA for operational trial and evaluations. The naval variant of the HongQi 9 has been installed onboard the Type 052C destroyer commissioned in 2004.
The HongQi 9 is reported to have a slant range of 200km up to an altitude of 30km. The missile has a proximity fuse with an effective range of 35m, which goes active when the missile is 5km away from its target. The missile is transported and launched on Taian TAS5380 8X8 transport-erector-launcher (TEL), which has four canisters that look almost identical to those used in the S-300PMU1.
Guidance & Fire Control
The HongQi 9’s guidance is very similar to that of the Patriot missile, consisting of inertial initial guidance + radio command midcourse correction + track-via-missile (TVM) terminal guidance. Midcourse correction commands are transmitted to the guidance system from the ground engagement control station. The target acquisition system in the missile acquires the target in the terminal phase of flight and transmits the data using the TVM downlink via the ground radar to the engagement control station for final course correction calculations. The course correction commands are transmitted back to the missile via the command uplink.
The HongQi 9 system reportedly uses a large HT-233 3D C-band mono-pulse planar phased array radar, which operates in the 300MHz bandwidth and has a detection range of 120km and tracking range of 90km. The radar can detect targets in azimuth (360 degrees) and elevation (0 to 65 degrees), and is capable of tracking some 100 airborne targets and simultaneously engaging more than 50 targets. The radar system is carried on a Taian TAS5380 8X8 heavy-duty cross-country vehicle.
The HongQi 9 may also be compatible with the Russian tracking radar, making it suitable to be deployed in combination with the S-300.
FT-2000 Anti-Radiation SAM
In 1998 CPMIEC revealed a unique anti-radiation surface-to-air missile system FT-2000, which was designed engage airborne warning and control system (AWACS) and other electronic warfare aircraft at long ranges. Based on the HongQi 9 design, the FT-2000 is fitted with a passive radar-homing seeker and is launched from a 8X8 transport-erector-launcher (TEL) vehicle carrying four missile tube launchers.
The FT-2000 is a scaled down version of the HongQi 9 fitted with a passive radar seeker that homes the missile using the electronic emission of enemy AWACS and electronic warfare (EW) aircraft. When the missile detects and locks on to the radar or jammer, it can home on the target autonomously at 1,200m/s while sustaining a 14G overload. The FT-2000 can also be used in co-operation with friendly aircraft when the onboard radar warning receiver detects hostile signal. In addition, the FT-2000 missile has a built-in inertial navigation system, so that whenever it has acquired a lock-on, it will continue towards the target even if the emitter is shut down, although the missile's accuracy would seriously degrade in this case.
For the detection and localisation of hostile radar emissions and jammers the FT-2000 makes use of four ground-based Electronic Support Measures (ESM) sensor posts, each of which is mounted on wheeled vehicles and can together track 50 targets simultaneously. The ESM sensor posts are deployed at a distance 30km from each other. The missile launchers are deployed near the central ESM sensor station at a distance of 150 metres. Additionally, the missile can also be used in conjunction with surveillance and target acquisition radars.
Despite being regarded as the first of its kind in the world, the real effectiveness of the FT-2000 in operation was somehow doubtful. The missile caught great attention when it was first revealed in 1998, but did not enter production due to lack of interest from either domestic or international market.
Missile dimensions: N/A
Launch weight: N/A
Propulsion: Two-stage solid propellant rocket motor
Slant range: Minimum 500m; Maximum 200km; or 30km against ballistic missile
Maximum speed: Mach 2
Guidance: TVM semi-active radar homing
System reaction time: 10 seconds
Single-shot hit probability: 70~90%
Last update: 3 October 2009