PLA Anti-Air Missile (SAM) systems


sndef888

Junior Member
Registered Member
Has China considered purchasing the S350 missiles that are being used in Russia's newest warships?

For a claimed range of 120km, it seems incredibly compact. One truck can launch up to 12 missiles while the Chinese medium range HQ-16 can only launch 6
 

SpicySichuan

Senior Member
Registered Member
Has China considered purchasing the S350 missiles that are being used in Russia's newest warships?

For a claimed range of 120km, it seems incredibly compact. One truck can launch up to 12 missiles while the Chinese medium range HQ-16 can only launch 6
I think the 120km version is so technologically advanced (due to how compact it is; imagining a quad-packed RIM-162 ESSM with 120 km range instead of 50) that the Russian might be hesitant to share with China. China would simply reverse-engineer it, re-innovate based on it (like installing a more powerful active seeker or other sensors), and make them cheaply for both land and sea.
 

supersnoop

Junior Member
Registered Member
I think the 120km version is so technologically advanced (due to how compact it is; imagining a quad-packed RIM-162 ESSM with 120 km range instead of 50) that the Russian might be hesitant to share with China. China would simply reverse-engineer it, re-innovate based on it (like installing a more powerful active seeker or other sensors), and make them cheaply for both land and sea.
Diameter about the same, but 9M96 is longer than ESSM
The lack of quad-pack SAM with active seeker has been pointed out by posters here as an obvious shortcoming.
Supposedly one based on PL-12 was already rejected, so we can imagine that simple reverse engineering probably not enough to satisfy the desires of PLA.
I think PL-XX can fulfill this need, especially if an AESA seeker is true.
 

gelgoog

Captain
Registered Member
I doubt the Russians wouldn't export it to China given they already did that with the S400 which is a more advanced system.
The S350 was designed together with South Korea. Given that the Russians already exported the rocket engine technology to the South Koreans for KM-SAM I don't see why they wouldn't be open to do the same with China.
 

ougoah

Colonel
Registered Member
I think 9M96 was already purchased in the S-400 deal. S-400 has a range of missiles and sub-types designed for different purposes. It's an integrated air defence in and of itself.

A quadpackable ESSM equivalent for PLAN is indeed a gap in range and ship payload capacity but there is supposed to be a new missile for just this although its range is 50km so between HQ-16 and HQ-10. This is not the same range class as S-350 although a land based high capacity SAM with range class between HQ-16A/B and HQ-9A/B seems to be lacking as well although is it really that important?

S-350 would be very nice to have to cover the intermediate range between medium and long. Especially if the same vehicle type can carry about twice as many missiles than the HQ-16. It's showing how old the HQ-16 is getting. Quite strange how poor the range for the Buk/HQ-16 is for its size. It carries a good heavy warhead though with proximity shrapnel cone but its modernised variants only offered commensurate improvement to range compared to heavier HQ-9. The problem is the frame itself is not that much smaller than HQ-9.

This suggests that PLA may eventually (or indeed already) be looking to give the HQ-16 a very significant modernisation effort or replace it with another more modern medium range missile. With overall improvement to missile design which is allowed for by modern rocket engines and fuel technology. There's only so much you can do to an older design. It also shows PLA has always placed a lot of emphasis on mass production and numbers for medium range SAMs to not bother with better but more complex and more expensive designs with multiple stages.
 

Tam

Colonel
Registered Member
Diameter about the same, but 9M96 is longer than ESSM
The lack of quad-pack SAM with active seeker has been pointed out by posters here as an obvious shortcoming.
Supposedly one based on PL-12 was already rejected, so we can imagine that simple reverse engineering probably not enough to satisfy the desires of PLA.
I think PL-XX can fulfill this need, especially if an AESA seeker is true.


PLA is picky. PL-12 seeker based SAM is the SD-50, which is already sold to some countries as an export product.

Maybe they are waiting for something using the PL-15 seeker.
 

ougoah

Colonel
Registered Member
PLA is picky. PL-12 seeker based SAM is the SD-50, which is already sold to some countries as an export product.

Maybe they are waiting for something using the PL-15 seeker.

It'll be nice to have a PL-15 based SAM with a booster stage. That should easily have superior range to 100km and only require more length which the PL-15 base length can accommodate. That makes it relatively similar in wingspan to 9M96 and offers similar no. of missiles per launch vehicle. It's also better range and energy than the heavy, bulky single stage HQ-16. An overall significant improvement for a medium to intermediate range SAM. It'll probably be very expensive though and can't be produced at the same rate with the same resources devoted to it.

Still it seems like such a missile would be a good gap filler for something between HQ-16 and HQ-9 but with much better capability than HQ-16 and each SAM site could hold more than twice as many missiles for the same number of vehicles.

SD-50/DK-10 range is stated as 50km for export variant supplied to Morocco. It's an older missile and based on export PL-12 with booster stage. The truck that it's mounted on is smaller than those carrying HQ-16 and HQ-9. Same with the containers. But it's still quite a spacious looking container and can only imagine an unrestricted PLA SAM built off the PL-15 would require no bigger container and if mounted on HQ-16 truck class, 12x missiles could be accommodated. PL-15 itself has at least 150km effective range wehn air laucnhed (assuming similar measurement and indications as other specced out missiles). A booster stage should compensate for land and zero velocity launches to at least give it effective range of 100km. This is well beyond what HQ-16A is capable of and about that for HQ-16B but with twice the number of missiles and potentially a better seeker but smaller warhead. A surprise PLA never bothered requesting this since DK-10 was already exported around back in 2017.
 
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ougoah

Colonel
Registered Member
@Tam

Also, do you think the PLAN's new 5-5-5 "triple 5" SAM is using booster stage? I imagine it's easily quadpacked and similar to a PL-10 or equivalent weight short range missile (most likely a very different looking one) with a booster stage. This gives it its mach 5 capability.

It's got the same declared range as DK-10 but would be nearly a decade more modern and NOT an export missile. It's probably a thinner missile compared to the DK-10 if it's quadpackable.
 
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vincent

Senior Member
Range is not the only performance measure when evaluating a missile’s performance. Its speed, agility, seeker abilities, etc probably matter much more for a medium range missile
 

ougoah

Colonel
Registered Member
Range is not the only performance measure when evaluating a missile’s performance. Its speed, agility, seeker abilities, etc probably matter much more for a medium range missile

No doubt it does but the HQ-16 doesn't have great speed (mach 3 which is okay but no longer so good) and since it's so bulky and heavy, it would have inferior performance and energy retention compared to an optimised two stage design. Seekers are a separate topic to the missile kinematic performance. You can quite easily upgrade seekers and use the same missile. An AIM-120D is not an AIM-120A no matter how much they look identical on the surface. So seekers are not a part of this conversation because they can change and be changed.

A HQ-16 replacement with similar range can be done with huge space savings which means more missiles for the ground based SAM or the warship carrying these missiles. It'll have a smaller warhead though (the obvious advantage of the HQ-16) and not be useful as a secondary anti-ship missile with much greater ballistic range than anti-air effective range - around 70km for the A variant.

Although a replacement with a better design would come at increased costs and more complexity which also means lower production rate and fewer missiles to be positioned and transported around. I'm suggesting it would be a good intermediate SAM to supplement the 100km to 250km gap between HQ-16B and HQ-9A/B for common targets - UAVs, missiles, cruise missiles, bombers, fighters. The HQ-16 is quite a lot less versatile for upgrades unlike HQ-9. It's the F-111 to the Su-27 platforms and just too limited to only having large warhead as compensation for aging design. The HQ-9 is already a two stage missile and nearly always has room and potential for upgrade. The vehicle itself is just versatile and large enough to support new technology below the surface. It's like the Flanker of missiles. The HQ-9 is capable of at least mach 4 with just A/B variants and have been the basis on which at least one type of longer ranged SAM or BMD is engineered on.
 

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