Chinese Anti-Aircraft Artillery AAA
The PLA did not have many anti-aircraft weapons at its inception. It could only offset the threat of aviation by night combat, close combat, and concealed camouflage. After the Korean War shifted to positional defense, after the Volunteer Army introduced a large number of Soviet anti-aircraft guns, the anti-aircraft artillery began to cover combat troops on the front line. The army/division formations incorporated into the air defense force, in 1953, a number of small-caliber anti-aircraft guns. Used for field air defense, these already accounted for two-thirds of all kinds of anti-aircraft guns.
At that time, most anti-aircraft artillery units were transformed into infantry units, and their tactics were similar to those of infantry. This included setting false targets and ambushing to lure enemy aircraft into the preset kill range. The tactics of the field air defense force built while fighting could not meet the needs of modern warfare.
The defense industry began to imitate Soviet designs in the mid-1950s. The 55-type 37mm and 65-type double-pipe 37 Millimeter guns, Type 59 57mm and 100mm caliber antiaircraft guns, formed an air defense system from low altitude to medium altitude. The 57mm and 100mm caliber Type 59 antiaircraft guns were relatively large and only equipped anti-aircraft artillery divisions. The domestic 57 anti-aircraft gun, usually refers to the 59-type 57 mm anti-aircraft gun. It is an imitation of the former Soviet Union’s C60 57mm anti-aircraft gun. The Type 59 was put into mass production in 1965 and has been gradually retired from active service. However, the power of the 59 anti-aircraft artillery is still seen in some recent military exercises.
The PLA used visual aiming 37mm antiaircraft artillery as the main weapon of field air defense, which made brilliant achievements during the Vietnam War. These antiaircraft artillery were towed antiaircraft artillery that can only be carried on the battlefield under good road conditions. It was difficult to keep up with the movement of the troops. At this time, the equipment and tactics of the field air defense force lacked clear positioning. It was only the antiaircraft artillery prepared by the army.
With the development of self-propelled air defense in Shanghai, for air defense in the march, the field air defense forces had to use railway vehicles or cars to accompany the movement of the troops. This "land-based approach" method lacked accuracy. In addition, air defense missiles began to replace anti-aircraft guns. However, China only had the huge HQ-1/2 air defense missile [the Soviet SA-2], which was larger and more complicated equipment. In 1965, China’s defense industry began to develop the HQ-61 mid- and low-altitude missiles derived from captured samples of the American "Sparrow". The PL-2-519 low-altitude air defense missile, coupled with 14.5 mm high aircraft and 37/57 mm anti-aircraft artillery, was an attempt to build a multi-layer defense covering a range of 0.1 to 15 kilometers and a height of 0.3-10 kilometers. But the defense electronics industry did not have the production conditions to support the field air defense system. There were a lot of technical difficulties in the HQ-61, and it quickly became inactive.
In the Vietnam War, Chinese anti-aircraft artillery units shot down and damaged a large number of US combat aircraft, but their role was only interference, and did not prevent the US combat aircraft from attacking. It cannot be compared with complex field air defense, and it also exposed the army’s field air defense forces. At that time, there were nearly 700 anti-aircraft missiles and nearly 1,000 anti-aircraft artillery in the Soviet Army's group army. Portable anti-aircraft missiles equipped every infantry fighting vehicle, and there were 2-6 in each unit of the U.S. Army. Equipped with medium and long-range air defense missile battalions, each division had two companies, with "Chaparral" missiles and "Vulcan" guns. The United States and the Soviet Union had also fully realized their own directions.
In the 1980s, the PLA had neither air defense missiles nor air defense guns. Self-propelled artillery, the most reliable anti-aircraft weapon for the tank unit, was only vehicle-mounted anti-aircraft machine guns. Medium and high-altitude air defenses relied entirely on the Air Force’s large and medium caliber anti-aircraft guns and HQ-2 missiles. During the "Southern Xinjiang Counterattack", the Vietnamese air force penetrated into China at a depth of 50 kilometers. The air defense weapons of the offensive force were only anti-aircraft machine guns, which made the Chinese army realize the huge shortcomings of field air defense.
Soon there began extensive national defense technology exchanges with the West, which successively introduced two types of short-range missiles, Aspide and Sidewinder. The HQ-61, which used a wheeled off-road vehicle as the chassis, was also implemented in 1986. The Sidewinder missile with comprehensive performance and cost advantages was also finalized in 1988. It replaced the HQ-61 and became the standard missile equipment for the Chinese Army’s field air defense forces. It also introduced the Russian-made Tor-M1. The system replaced the original medium-caliber artillery, and combat troops were generally equipped with portable anti-aircraft missiles. This initially solved the problem of medium and low-altitude air defense during the marching and deployment phases. At the same time, China also strengthened the development of small-caliber artillery models, the 85-type antiaircraft artillery. The Type 87 25mm antiaircraft gun was also finalized and began to replace the 14.5mm multi-unit antiaircraft machine gun. However, the 37mm and 57mm self-propelled antiaircraft guns that used tanks as the self-propelled chassis did not get satisfactory results, with only small-scale service trials. The new twin 35mm combination towed antiaircraft artillery and PGZ-95 self-propelled artillery weapon system became a new achievement in field air defense weapons.
The PLA’s modern combat thinking gradually changed the form of war. With the PLA’s current strength, drones would definitely be used for raids in an instant. The 12.7mm caliber machine gun or the 35mm caliber antiaircraft artillery of the Celestial System is responsible for some key air defense tasks. However, in general, the performance of the Type 59 57mm anti-aircraft gun is relatively slow. It has a slower rate of fire. The maximum rate of fire is 120 rounds per minute. The actual rate of fire is only 70 rounds per minute. The shells only have tracer armor-piercing projectiles and tracers. For modern and more advanced types of fighter jets and helicopters, it appears to be inadequate.
The first is the 23mm caliber has the domestic 85-type 23mm double-barreled antiaircraft gun and the imitation of the former Soviet Union 3Y-23-2 23mm antiaircraft gun. The 35mm caliber type 90 double-barrelled anti-aircraft gun is the imported Swiss Oerlikon 35mm double-barreled anti-aircraft gun, which is unique among domestic anti-aircraft guns. The 37 mm caliber anti-aircraft guns have the most types, with four types: 55, 65, 74, and P793.
These formed the artillery system of China's antiaircraft artillery with three calibers: small-medium-large. Although it can ensure a certain air-to-air firepower density locally, it also has side effects. First of all, logistics support is a big problem. Antiaircraft guns of different calibers are equipped with different ammunition . Storage and transportation rations will put a lot of pressure on the logistics system. Secondly, the old-fashioned antiaircraft artillery has a low rate of fire, slow response, and relatively backward ammunition performance. On the bright side, the shooting rate is very unsatisfactory.
At present, the "Hongqi"-22 and "Hongqi-9" and other medium- and long-range air defense systems are equipped with the Air Force, while the army's field air defense systems are mainly composed of the "Hongqi"-7. Improved, "Hongqi"-16, "Hongqi"-17, 09 type 35mm self-propelled antiaircraft gun and 25mm artillery combined system. Among them, "Hongqi"-17 is a medium- and short-range air defense weapon system. The range is connected with "Hongqi"-16 on the top and with the Type 09 35mm anti-aircraft gun on the bottom.
The domestic PGZ-95 type 25mm self-propelled antiaircraft gun and the PGZ-09 type 35mm self-propelled antiaircraft gun are among the best. Relying on advanced radar sighting and photoelectric fire control systems, they can all detect incoming air targets at a relatively long distance. The Type 95 four-barreled anti-aircraft artillery can fire 3,000 rounds per minute, while the Type 09 dual 35mm anti-aircraft cannon can fire 1,000 rounds per minute. A dense fire net can be formed in the air in an instant, especially the Type 09 35mm shells are also equipped with programmable ammunition. When the shells fly near the target, they will automatically detonate. The internal preset sub-munitions and fragments are fired at high speed with great destructive power.
The Ludun 2000 short-range air defense system can be called the ultimate killer of domestic anti-aircraft artillery. It integrates a 30mm 730 cannon, 7-tube fire rate up to 4200 rounds per minute, carrying 500 rounds of shelling armor-piercing projectiles and high-explosive incendiary rounds, and is also equipped with two triple-mounted air-to-air missile launchers, launching domestically produced The surface-to-air model of the "Tianyan" 90 air-to-air missile, with a combination of missile and artillery, forms a deadly firepower net at a distance of 1500-6000 meters. It can deal with all targets from fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters to cruise missiles and even supersonic missiles. However, the price of the above-mentioned anti-aircraft artillery is extremely expensive, and it is difficult to install a large number of anti-aircraft guns overnight.
The main weapon of the Apache gunship is the Hellfire airborne anti-tank missile, which has a range of 8 kilometers, while the maximum range of the 35mm anti-aircraft gun is only about 5 kilometers, which cannot cover the range of the Hellfire missile. The Apache is also testing longer-range weapons, which will be put into practical use after 2020, so the Army’s medium-sized force air defense system needed to consider countering these new threats, possibly considering these new missile threats. In this way, the 35mm wheeled self-propelled artillery had insufficient capability to deal with the new generation of airborne missiles, and its own cost was relatively expensive.
Taking these factors into account, the Army's medium-sized air defense force decided to choose the Hongqi 17A air defense missile as the backbone and backbone of the air defense system. The Hongqi 17A air defense missile is the largest. The range can reach more than 12 kilometers, can cover the range of the Hellfire missile, and it can be further increased in the future, and the 25mm 6-barrel rapid-fire antiaircraft cannon is used as a supplement to deal with low-altitude short-range targets.
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