China has become a world leader in air-defense missile technologies

China has become a world leader in air-defense technologies thanks to the hard work and dedication of researchers at China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp's Second Academy, the country's major developer of air-defense weapons systems.

China has become a world leader in air defense technologies HQ 16 925 001
HQ-16 Chinese-made medium-range air defense missile system at AirShow China. (Picture source Army Recognition)

Since the period 2007/2008 China has launched programs to develop new air defense capabilities. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, China air defense systems was mainly composed by old Soviet-made SA-2 / SA-75 Dvina but now Chinese defense industry has designed and developed many types of air defense systems including the HQ-9, HQ-12, HQ-16 and more.

Researchers from the academy's Zhang Yiqun Laboratory have been playing a vital role in the development of China's new air-defense missile system by designing its control systems - the "brain" of any missile.

Chinese armed forces also use Russian-made air defense system as the S-300 PMU-2 Favorit and the TOR-M1 under the name of HQ-17, Chinese development of the Russian-made Tor-M1 system with multiple improvements.

In 2018, Russia has delivered the first regimental set of S-400 Triumf advanced interceptor-based Air Defense Systems (NATO reporting name: SA-21 Growler) to China under a 2014 government-to-government contract.

Compared with previous generations of air-defense missiles, the new-generation missile system will have a wider range of targets and be much more technologically sophisticated, taking China into the ranks of just a handful of nations capable of designing and producing such a system.

The cutting-edge missile's control systems need to be extremely efficient and accurate, said Wang Mengyi, deputy head of the Second Academy's General Design Department and former leader of the laboratory.

The successful development of China's new air-defense missile system would be unachievable if researchers at the laboratory had failed to design world-class control systems, he said, noting that they adopted new design methods that have reduced design time tremendously and improved missile performance.

Wang Xiaodong, a laboratory researcher, said members of the laboratory spent numerous days and nights improving the accuracy of control systems and optimizing the algorithms that are central to them.

"For example, we worked 10 consecutive days and slept little each day to detect and resolve one extremely rare abnormality because all of us are aware that our nation's air-defense networks can only be reliable if we are meticulous and responsible toward our work," he said.

The laboratory, named after Zhang Yiqun, a top researcher at the academy and former head of the laboratory, has been granted 11 National Science and Technology Advancement Awards and 28 National Defense Science and Technology Progress Awards due to its extensive contribution to China's air-defense networks. It has also registered more than 130 defense technology patents.

In the laboratory, members of the Communist Party of China play a vanguard, exemplary role, leaders of the laboratory said. They always take the lead in innovating, carry out their assignments carefully, with scrupulous attention to detail, and also display an inspirational level of diligence and devotion toward their work.