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PLA Chinese army deploys HQ-9 air defense missiles in Ladakh.

| 2021

In the wake of what Army Recognition already reported on September 6, 2020, while talks between India and China are yet to see a conclusive result, the Chinese army has deployed its HQ-9 long-range air defense systems near the de facto border in Ladakh, raising the tensions in the region. Ayush Jain reports on Eurasian Times.
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Chinese HQ-9 air defense missile system (Picture source: Chinese Internet)

In February, both India and China had agreed to disengage their troops from the Pangong Tso eastern Ladakh, ending their 10-month-long border standoff. Since then, the Indian Army and the PLA have been holding talks to find ways for possible disengagement from the remaining friction points along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). However, the Chinese side is reportedly reluctant to withdraw from Depsang, Hot Springs, Demchok, and Gogra Heights.

Hence, the deployment of the Chinese HQ-9 air defense system near the Ladakh border has set the alarm bells ringing in New Delhi. India Today quoted top Indian government officials as saying that these weapon systems and the whole disengagement process are being closely monitored by Indian intelligence agencies, which may pose a threat to Indian aircraft and helicopters operating in the region. The report mentions specifically the HQ-9 and the HQ-22 surface-to-air missile systems, which would be supplemented by their radar networks and support vehicles.

The HQ-9 is a medium-to-long range air defense missile system designed and manufactured in China by the defense company CPMIEC (China Precision Machinery Import & Export Corporation). The HQ-9 system is designed to track and destroy aircraft, cruise missiles, air-to-surface missiles, and tactical ballistic missiles. Stated to be broadly equivalent to the Russian S-300 and the American Patriot air defense systems, the HQ-9 uses active radar homing missiles. The HongQi 9 (HQ-9) uses a two-stage missile. The first stage has a diameter of 700 mm and the 2nd stage 560 mm, with a total mass of almost 2 tons and a length of 6.8m. The missile is armed with a 180 kg warhead, has a maximum speed of Mach 4.2. and has a maximum range of 200 km up to an altitude of 30 km.

While the exact capabilities of Chinese systems aren’t widely available in the public domain, it is believed that an HQ-9 battery could consist of one Type 305B search radar, one tracking radar, one 200 kW Diesel generator truck, and eight transporter erector launchers (TELs) each with 4 missiles, totaling 32 rounds ready to fire. This missile system can be expanded into more capable larger formation, with the addition of the following equipment: one TWS-312 command post, one site survey vehicle based on the Dongfeng EQ2050, one main power grid converter, additional transporter/ loader vehicles with each vehicle housing four missile TELs based on Tai’an TAS5380, one Type 120 low altitude search radar, one HT-233 PEAS long-range search radar. The system can use radars similar to that employed by the HQ-22, improvising the overall air defense network and giving the field commander a broader layout of options for engaging the hostile aircraft, Ayush Jain concludes.


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