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Red Flag 16 is a jointly developed with Russia's new air defense missile system. It has been defined as a medium/low air-range surface-to-air missile, with an effective combat altitude between 100 and 20,000 meters, a response speed of 6 to 8 seconds, and a missile battery that can attack 8 air targets at the same time. The single-shot kill probability is 0.9, using the most advanced vertical launch technology and phased array radar; the warhead is a composite guided type, and the vehicle is self-propelled. The Russian side will replace the SA-17 currently in service. The Chinese side will use the pre-production Hongqi 17 - the Chinese version of Tor-M1 tracked field air defense missile system - to fully replace the "middle-aged" Hongqi 61A.

Official military media for the first time acknowledged in September 2011 that China's new land-based mid-range Surface to Air Missile (SAM) system had reached operational capability. Military observers said that deployment of this missile system would boost China's air defense capability. The new SAM system, dubbed the Hongqi-16, or Red Flag-16, had been delivered to an air defense unit in the Shenyang Military Region. In a recent drill, two HQ-16 missiles fired by the unit successfully hit their aerial targets.

As well as being able to engage aerial targets at high altitude, the mid-range HQ-16 is also able to intercept very low-flying targets at a distance of up to about 40 kilometers, filling the gap between the HQ-7 short-range SAM and the HQ-9 long-range SAM systems. The naval variant of the missile system, which had been fitted on Type 054A frigates, can intercept sea-skimming missiles that fly less than 10 meters above the sea surface.

In modern air attacks, large numbers of land-attack cruise missiles, such as the US Tomahawk missile, are being used. They fly about 50 meters above the ground to avoid early radar warning and interception attempts. But the current mid-range SAM missile system HQ-12 can only engage targets that fly 300 meters above ground, according to the promotion brochure of its export version, called the KS-1A system. Besides the low-altitude engagement capability, the HQ-16 is also more accurate than the HQ-12. The deployment of the land-based HQ-16 can greatly enhance the mainland's capability to counter modern air attacks.

Currently the HQ-26 shipboard anti-missile system performance data is not released, and the analysis of the missile only comes from the HQ-16 missile performance, because the HQ-16 missiles is the basis for the HQ-26 development. That is, the Chinese medium-range air defense missile is being used by the third generation to move the fourth generation forward.

All along, the Chinese naval air defense weapon system was the soft underbelly of the surface fleet. The Chinese Navy from the 1960s began air missile development work, and with the successful development of sea-based air defense missiles in the HQ-16, the Chinese naval vessels were equipped with anti-aircraft missile launch Type 054A guided missile frigates in service, this situation changed.

The HQ-16 missile is the Chinese navy's first vertical launch short-range air missile, launched from the ship deck with a vertical storage / launch unit with a rapid response capacity that is much higher than the current rotary launchers, whether against incoming high altitude or sea-skimming targets. The Chinese navy new HQ-16 air defense missiles will undoubtedly enable the Chinese navy to move "toward the distant seas." In the Gulf of Aden, the Chinese navy escort mission Zhoushan frigate was equipped with 32 units of the HQ-16 Vertical Launch Missile.

The HQ-16 medium-range air defense missile is China's third-generation low-altitude, short-range air-ground (ship to air) missile weapon systems, combat aircraft tactical objectives, anti-ship ballistic and tactical air-launched missiles, helicopters and unmanned machine, developed by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation. The HQ-16 anti-aircraft missiles have with active radar guidance, with a performance similar to the Russian SA-N-12. It has an effective range of 1.5-30 km, effective altitudes from 10-6000 meters, single hit probability 0.7-0.98, reaction time 5-8 seconds, 2.9 m long missile, projectile diameter 0.232 m, and weighs 165 kg, warhead weight of 17 kg, the maximum flight speed of Mach 2.8.

The HQ-16 antiaircraft missile body uses an aerodynamic layout, which can give the missile the ability to fly at a high angle of attack, so it can more efficiently intercept incoming targets, intercepting targets with a flight speed of Mach 2.0 or more.

Beijing has created a state-of-the-art variant of its long-range HQ-16 surface-to-air missile. As part of a significant upgrade to the projectile, the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC) has given the HQ-16 an improved motor and upgraded wings. These improvements give the model, the HQ-16B, a greater range. While the original could strike targets roughly 25 miles away, the new variant can reach a distance of approximately 43 miles, according to sources speaking to IHS Jane's in September 2016.

The original model, unveiled in 2011, was the result of a cooperative effort between China and Russia, and is similar to the 9M38E missiles. China has seen a rapid increase in military capabilities over the last few years. This has been partially driven by a need to defend against aggression from the US and it Pacific allies. "Beijing's arsenal of ballistic and cruise missiles has been growing steadily for decades as new systems were fielded in an array of ranges short, medium and intercontinental," Bill Gertz wrote in an op-ed for Asia Times. "Several long-range cruise missiles, capable of carrying nuclear or conventional payloads also are deployed."

One principal concern is the United States' plan to deploy a Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system to the Korean peninsula. While ostensibly meant to deter North Korea, the system has a range that could allow it to strike the Chinese mainland. "To develop suitable capabilities of missile defense is necessary for China to maintain national security and improve defense capabilities," Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Sr. Col. Yang Yujun told reporters in July. "It is not targeting any other country or target, nor is it jeopardizing the international strategic equilibrium."

The "not targeting any other country" is boilerplate, but is silly, because in the absence of some notional threat country it would be impossible to judge the requirements or performance of a weapon.

HQ-16 HQ-16 HQ-16

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