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NAVAL HQ-9 SHIP-TO-AIR MISSILE
The PLA Navy deploys a new type of ship-to-air missile system onboard its latest Type 052C (Lanzhou class) missile destroyer. The missile, which was reported to the shipborne (naval) version of the HQ-9 surface-to-air missile, features China’s first indigenous vertical launch system (VLS). A total of 48 missiles are carried in eight 6-cell VLS units. Six of these units are located on the bow deck behind the 100mm main gun, and two are located just in front of the helicopter hanger near the stern. Unlike the Russian ‘revolver’ VLS design, the Chinese VLS has separate launch cells each with its own lids. The VLS utilises the so-called ‘cold launch’ method, where the missile was first ejected from the launch tube, and then ignites its rocket engine at low altitude. This launch style avoids the complex flame and gas exhausting pipes and reduce the damage to the ship structure compared to the Western-style ‘hot launch’ VLS.
The HQ-9 was described as a medium- to long-range air defence missile with a ‘Track-Via-Missile’ (TVM) terminal guidance similar to that of the U.S. Patriot. The missile’s aerodynamic design, rocket motor, and launcher system may be based on the Russian S-300 technology. Development of the land-based HQ-9 began in the late 1980s but the programme had reportedly encountered enormous technical difficulties, resulting in a prolonged development period. The land-based HQ-9A probably did not enter service until the late 1990s, while the naval variant was possibly introduced around 2004.
This page was last updated 29 April 2006