Beijing: China has deployed a new land-based
mid-range surface-to-air missile (SAM) system capable of intercepting both high and very low-flying targets, boosting its air defence capability.
The new SAM system called Hongqi-16, or Red Flag-16, was
delivered to an air defence unit in the Shenyang Military
Region, official media reported.
In a recent drill, two HQ-16 missiles fired by the unit successfully hit their aerial targets, according to People`s Liberation Army Daily.
Besides engaging aerial targets at high altitude, the
mid-range HQ-16 is able to intercept very low-flying targets
at a distance of up to 40 km, filling the gap between the HQ-7
short-range SAM and the HQ-9 long-range SAM systems, Lan Yun,
editor of Modern Ships, a Beijing-based military magazine,
told the state-run Global Times.
According to Modern Navy, the official magazine of the
PLA Navy, the naval variant of the missile system, which has
been fitted on Type 054A frigates, can intercept sea-skimming
missiles that fly less than 10 metres above the sea surface.
In modern air attacks, a large numbers of land-attack
cruise missiles, such as the US Tomahawk missiles, are being
used, Lan said. "They fly about 50 meters above the ground to
avoid early radar warning and interception attempts," Lan
But the current mid-range SAM missile system HQ-12 can
only engage targets that fly 300 meters above ground,
according to the promotion brochure of its export version,
called the KS-1A system.
"Besides the low-altitude engagement capability, the
HQ-16 is also more accurate than the HQ-12.The deployment of
the land-based HQ-16 can greatly enhance the mainland`s
capability to counter modern air attacks," Lan said.