A HQ-17AE air-defense missile is fired during a recent test. (Photo/China News Service)
China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp, the country’s top missile maker, has brought a new high-mobility air-defense missile system to the international market.
Developed by the CASIC Second Academy in Beijing, China’s leading manufacturer of air-defense weapons, each HQ-17AE unit consists of one six-wheeled launch vehicle, eight short-range air-defense missiles and a solid-state phased-array radar system.
It can detect and intercept multiple targets and also has good mobility, which means it is an ideal option for forward-deployed ground forces’ air-defense operations, the academy said.
Designers said the system is capable of detecting and bringing down all types of air threats including stealth fighter jets, helicopters, combat drones and cruise missiles that enter its defensive perimeter.
The launch vehicle can travel at speeds of up to 90 kilometers per hour and can fire missiles while moving at speeds of up to 25 km/h, designers said, adding that its strike range for incoming fighter jets ranges from 15 km to 20 km.
Yu Benshui, an air-defense missile expert at the CASIC Second Academy, said that each HQ-17AE launch vehicle can simultaneously handle four incoming targets while its predecessors can only deal with one target at a time.
“The missile system can rapidly respond to incoming threats and can fit in complicated battlefield situations. The HQ-17AE is five times more combat capable than its predecessors,” said Yu, who is also an academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering.
Chinese weapons observers believe the HQ-17AE is the export version of the HQ-17A, the latest air-defense weapon for the People’s Liberation Army Ground Force, which was also developed by the CASIC Second Academy. CASIC has not confirmed the link between the two types.
The HQ-17A was first shown to the public during the National Day parade in Beijing in October 2019 that marked the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
Before the HQ-17AE, CASIC had provided its FM-3000 short-to-medium-range air-defense missile system to the global market, saying it was a good choice for any buyer seeking an effective, reliable and affordable air-defense system.
Designers said the FM-3000 is particularly suitable for defense against precision-guided munitions such as air-to-ground tactical missiles and laser-guided bombs, adding it can be used to safeguard strategically important regions such as national capitals or places with key assets.