SAM Sky Dragon 50


Registered Member
First off, the HQ9 is smaller than the S300.

As for fins, well could they not fold or be shortened or removed entirely? Surely you are smart enough to not need me to point this out?

The only critical factor is diameter. And it does not even necessarily have to be HQ16s or HQ9 missiles themselves that are quad packed, but it is certainly possible for missiles of those weight and size classes to be quad packed in the new UVLS, especially if they were designed form the offset for that.

That is where the PLAN SAM R&D budget has most likely gone to.

The PLAN made considerable sacrifices on VLS cell numbers making the UVLS as big as they have. It would be unwise to think they do not intend to take full advantage of all the carriage potential that gives them.

While main wings can be folded, controlling tail fins cannot due to being attached to a mechanism that is meant to turn on a different rotational axis for control purposes. The main wingspan of the 9M317ME missile (.82m), is on the tail fins, even if the main body wings are nearly reduced to nothing on the missile.

In a future design, you can try to reduce tail fin wingspan, maintain the same fin area with a longer chord, and compensate with TVC for control. This can explain the mystery missile spotted on the 054A thread.

That’s just not true at all. Please name a single example where for missiles of the same generation and from the same country, a smaller missile outranges a larger one.

Yes of course a bigger missile will mean more drag, but the increase in range from all the extra fuel the bigger volume allows cannot even come close to being offset but that small amount of extra drag that comes from making the missile bigger.

The 9M96E still outranges the 9M317ME, which is the latest, and modern version of the Shtil. Both are of the same generation, of the same country.

That extra sectional and surface drag combined isn't a small amount the faster you go.

PLAAF's experimental VLRAAM missile looks as narrow as any of its BVRAAMs can be, but is much longer, emphasizing that in order to increase propellant, you need to use up the length option before resorting to the diameter option. Increasing missile length without increasing diameter raises the missile's fineness ratio, which decreases the form drag.


I fully expect all the 054As to have their VLS upgraded to the new UVLS during their mid-life upgrades.

As such, the PLAN probably isn’t prioritising development or procurement of weapons that are primarily optimised for the 054A VLS.

Choosing something like the SD10/50 would allow the PLAN to field it in both 054As and the rest of the fleet standardised on the UVLS, but the problem is they will be wasting a lot of the potential of the UVLS settling for such a small missiles when the UVLS could quad pack much bigger and longer range missiles.

The PLAN is probably putting its money into your development of brand new SAMs designed specifically for the UVLS and is content for the 054As to have limited VLS munitions options until they also get upgrade to the UVLS.

how about "nine" pack of SD10/50 on UVLS ? .. @Iron Man has done a lot of concepts


how about "nine" pack of SD10/50 on UVLS ? .. @Iron Man has done a lot of concepts

While that is indeed some fine work, and I am very impressed with the raw potential of the UVLS to pack that many missiles, I do have some reservations about the real world feasibility and practicality of such a loadout.

Firstly, we don’t know the maximum continuous launch capacity of a cell with 9 SAMs. If they could all be fired almost simultaneously, that’s a non-issue.

However, it will be an issue if the venting and cooling limitations puts any meaningful limit on things like rounds per second or maximum number of missiles that could be launched in one salvo from the same cell if it is less than 9.

The other main concern is number of eggs in one basket. With 9’missiles per cell, I would think 4-8 cells of 36-72 missiles would be plenty for the medium to short range missile needs of most DDG and above class PLAN ships.

The risk is what happens if one of those cells suffers mechanical problems or battle damage?

A jammed VLS lid could potentially reduce the available medium to short range missile load of a ship by maybe a quarter or even half on smaller ships like the 054B.

Not trying to rule out this potential load-out, as it would be truly awesome to see, just wanted to stress that it’s not quite a no-brained slam dunk or a choice.


Registered Member
I will have to apologize The 9M317ME does fold its tail fins somewhere , unlike the 9M317M. Folded fins are not flushed to the missile's body however, some gap has to exist. Individual missiles need to be put into a canister and that canister actually makes up the missile's storage allowance on a VLS. If damage is concern that will prevent the VLS doors to be opened, you can open all the VLS doors prior to entering battle. If heat is a concern --- in a launcher like the U-VLS --- the hot gases do not vent out to a central system but out from the VLS itself --- which is truly is in such a VLS, there is always the option of cold launching the missile. In which case here is the 9M317ME missile again in the canister, which is closed on the bottom, which is connected to two wires.

You cannot launch missiles simultaneously without the risk of collision, but they can be ripple fired rapidly which almost have the same effect. The question now becomes how much the FCS radar can manage feeding target tracking data to the missiles. SARH missiles are tied to one target illumination radar, the mechanical parabolic SPG-62 is tied to one missile on its terminal stage one at a time. The Orekh MR90 can handle two within the same hemisphere being a phase array design. You can increase the number of missiles up in the air but you still can't fire the missiles simultaneously as the illumination need to take turns, like a time sharing effect on the missiles If you have a bigger phase array or an AESA for target illumination, and you can digitally form multiple beams, you can certainly handle more SARH missiles at one time. The S-300 Flap Lids are known to handle as much as six from one set. This is a problem with the ESSM, which isn't going to go active until the Block II version is released.

If you have active guided missiles, then its not the illumination that is the bottleneck but how much high quality tracks you can get from the radar's track while scan modes. The Skydragon 50 itself as a land SAM is tied to a relatively simple set of the IBIS 150 or 200 search radar, with an FW2 fire control radar, both equipment appears to be what the LY-80 is using and don't seem to be the fancy AESA sets, but with the SD50 is capable of engaging as many as 12 targets. That's saturation ability without much cost.

Another thing I like to add that with a naval SD50, even if the PLAN doesn't use it yet, it can be an attractive option for warship exports, which Chinese shipbuilders don't get a lot lately. Without a counter to ESSM or Aster 15, Chinese options will be in a disadvantage. Furthermore, the Koreans are offering their own ESSM equivalent the K-SAAM on their own frigate exports. I am thinking of something like the C28 frigate with a VLS for the SD50, and you don't need to put Orekhs and stuff for HQ-16s. Even an F22P sized vessel can appreciate an 8 cel VLS with 24 SD50s. (Note the Thailand Type 053 hull based Nanshuan frigates that are fitted with 8 cel Mk. 41s and ESSMs.)


Registered Member
Forgot to include these pictures to illustrate. 9M317ME canister and cold launch. With cold launch you won't need to concern with hot gas flow transfer issues, so all you need to is to pack as much canisters. But due to the canisters, a missile with .4m in diameter might look like at least .5m or more like this one. Some margin of space will have to be provided for each individual canister.

11-9m317me-missile-soha-vn-2-8ae3e-1392136878881.jpg 14-9m317me-missile-soha-vn-10-8ae3e-1392136878892.jpg



Junior Member
Registered Member
Guys help me out on this question!
Can Sky Dragon 50 be integrated with Giraffe AMB radar?
For example Denel Dynamics SAM can integrate with Giraffe!
I know two different manufacturers but Giraffe is customisable. Does Chinese SAM customisable to specific requirements?


Registered Member
On paper it should be. There is nothing there that can stop it if you pay the right parties for the integration, which is namely the radar talking to the missile and tell it where to go till the missile gets close enough to use its seeker.