PLA Chinese Army commissions new wheeled self-propelled air defense systems

The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Army has taken delivery of a batch of new self-propelled anti-aircraft systems that analysts said on Monday, April 17, have drone threats in mind, Liu Xuanzun reports in Global Times.
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Troops of an air defense brigade affiliated with the Chinese PLA 71st Group Army take delivery of new self-propelled air defense systems in April 2023 (Picture source: screenshot of WeChat account of PLA Eastern Theater Command)

An air defense brigade affiliated with the PLA 71st Group Army recently held a commissioning ceremony for dozens of new combat vehicles, the PLA Eastern Theater Command said in a press release on April 16, echoed by Liu Xuanzun. The press release did not provide further details, including the designation of the system. Photos attached to the press release show that the newly delivered vehicles are a type of truck-mounted anti-aircraft system integrated with a rotary cannon, a set of missile launchers, a radar system and a set of smoke dischargers, all on a wheeled vehicle.

This type of self-propelled air defense system, which is similar to a naval close-in weapon system but runs on land, has been observed in service with other PLA Army units since 2022, including a combined arms brigade affiliated with the 75th Group Army and the Xizang Military Command, according to official media reports. Its rotary gun has six 25mm barrels. Combined with the four FN-16/HY-6B air defense missiles on the turret, the system can cover an air defense radius of 3 to 4 km against helicopters, cruise missiles, loitering munitions and low-flying drones, Shanghai-based news website reported at the time.

Low-flying, slow and small targets like drones and loitering munitions have become one of the biggest threats in air defense in modern warfare, as demonstrated in the Ukraine war triggered by Russia. Traditional medium- to long-range air defense systems often ignore such targets, and traditional interception methods are also too expensive, Liu Xuanzun relevantly comments.

Defense News April 2023