China’s new HQ-17AE short-range surface-to-air missile system has received export clearance. This is the latest version of the HQ-17 air defense system, which has been in service with China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) since 2015.
It is claimed it can shoot down stealth aircraft and even supersonic cruise missiles.
The HQ-17 was developed on the basis of the Russian Tor-M1 surface to air defense system. It is an all-weather low to medium-altitude short-range air defense system (SHORAD).
And like many other pieces of equipment developed by the PLA, the HQ-17 is reverse-engineered from the Russian system, after it was denied the rights of domestic license production of the Tor-M1 by Moscow.
However, unlike the Tor system, the HQ-17 incorporates an IFF array on top of an electronically scanned array radar, modernized electronics, a new all-terrain launcher, and the ability to data-link with other Chinese systems.
China unveiled its domestically developed, latest generation troop-accompanying field air defense missile system, HQ-17AE, announcing its availability for export. Analysts said this is a perfect choice for its intended mission in modern warfare. https://t.co/O2Fkru2VIh pic.twitter.com/T0t4Gqft0j
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) March 7, 2021
The first variant of the HQ-17 was based on tracked chassis, and the option for using wheeled chassis was also given under the name HQ-17A. The latter is stated to be the domestic-use variant of the HQ-17AE, unveiled for the first time in October 2019.
Each HQ-17A/AE launch vehicle carries one PESA search radar and one AESA guidance radar. Notably, the location of the radars is different for the tracked variant and wheeled one. For the tracked variant, the search radar is located at the front and guidance radar at the rear while for the wheeled variant, the search radar is located at the rear and guidance radar at the front.
According to an analysis cited by the Chinese state-owned media Global Times, the system is a perfect choice for troop-accompanying or key facility air defense at the terminal stage and close range in modern warfare.
Musch like the HQ-17A, its export version, the HQ-17AE is a highly mobile troop air defense weapon, which could be deployed quickly in forward areas to protect troops or vital installations from enemy threats such as helicopters, low-flying close air support aircraft, and UAVs.
According to the state-owned China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC), the system can intercept high maneuverable aerial targets and can resist saturation attacks, calling it a ‘low altitude aircraft hunter’.
The HQ-17 missile is physically similar to the Tor-M1, with a weight of around 165 kg, length of around 2.9 m, and a diameter of around 0.23 m. Its slant range for intercepting flying aerial targets is 1.5 km to 15 km, slightly longer than the Tor-M1, and operates at an altitude of 10 m to 10 km.
The vehicle can also launch while on the move, and intercept tactical air-to-ground missiles, anti-radiation air-to-ground missiles, and subsonic cruise missiles, making it a highly potent platform. There are claims that the system can intercept stealth aircraft and even supersonic cruise missiles and rockets.
Each HQ-17AE vehicle can carry eight missiles, and is capable of guiding four missiles in attacking four targets simultaneously, as it has outstanding capability in intercepting multiple targets, the developing company said.