In order to increase the field air defence capability of the Army, the State Council and the CMC decided in 1976 to develop a medium and low altitude ground-to-air missile, which was required to be as much as possible the commonality between ship-to-air and ground-to- air, The missile was designated as Hongqi-61A. Shanghai No.2 Bureau of Machinery and Electronics was responsible for the development work. In August 1979, the 8th General Bureau of Machine Building together with the Artillery Corps studied the concept design of Hongqi-61A missile weapon system and requested that, by making full use of achievements of Hongqi-61 ship-to-air missile, utilizing the same missile type, and adopting the principle of "moving the equipment from sea to land," the equipment of ship-to-air missile should be utilized as much as possible, and only those equipment that were not suitable for the ground operation should be re-developed.
The main task of Hongqi-61A missile weapon system was to develop the ground equipment, especially the guidance station. Shanghai Broadcasting Instruments Factory was responsible for developing the truck of tracking illuminating radar, shooting commader and launching control truck. Under the leadership of Shen Yanbing and Zhang Dongyuan of Shanghai No.2 Bureau of Machinery and Electronics, large amount of feasibility analyses and studies were conducted on transforming ship-to-air missile weapon system to the ground operation. The tracking illuminating radar adopted hydraulic folding antenna pedestal. When the weapon system was transferred, it could guarantee to fold the antenna pedestal which had been erecting outside into the carriage within two minutes. It could also erect the pedestal outside the carriage from folding position. The whole structure was compact and could be operated swiftly. It had both mechanical and manual working conditions, which was a fairly ideal elevating mechanism of truck-borne radar antenna pedestal. In order to strengthen anti-jamming capabilitly of radar, television tracking error could be viewed through monitor under the condition of good visibility; when the angle tracking of radar was jammed and could not work normally, manual or automatic angle tracking could be used, thus fighting adaptability of weapons was improved.
The development of the command system was mainly concentrated on the modifications of the portion that were not suitable for the ground use. For the ship-to-air purpose, one commander only drived one launcher. But the ground-to-air type, it required one commander to drive any two among the four launchers. Shanghai Broadcasting Equipment Factory modified the ship-to-air type equipment and incorporated the base line correction technology for the four launchers, then the operational requirement of the ground-to-air application was met. The launching facility developed by New China Machinery Factory incorporated double connection fitting missile launching arm and integrated the launching control desk and commander into computing launching truck.
Through joint efforts of all organizations for the development work, the guidance radar truck, launching truck, commander and launching control truck had all been seccessfully developed one after another and had gone through verification with two target shooting tests in November 1984, which proved that these equipment were stable in performance and reliable in quality. From April to June 1986, design certification tests of Hongqi-61A missile weapon system were carried out at the ground-to-air missile testing base, during which three aircraft targets were shot down and the test was concluded with complete success. In November 1988, the State Council and the Military Product Certification Committee of the CMC approved the design certification of Hongqi-61 A missile.
Development of the Hongqi-61A missile experienced a complicated procedure, i.e. first the ground-to-air missile had been modified into ship-to-air missile, then it was developed into ground-to-air missile again. It had accumulated experience and laid foundation for developing basic type air defense missile that could be commonly used by the Army, Navy and Air Force.
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