HQ-9 - Development History
HQ-9 area air defense missile was developed by the Changfeng Electromechanical Technology Research and Design Institute of China (the Aerospace Engineering Group's Second Insitute). For over half a century since the late 1950's, the Insitute has developed the HQ-1, 2,3,4, HN-5 and other models which entered production and service. By 2010 the HQ-7, HQ-9, HQ-15, FT -2000, QW-1, WQ-2, FN-6 and other models nearing mass production, while three models are being designed, and another three models have been readied for early pre-research and development project.
The HQ-9 is a regional air defense missile which has always attached great importance to the State, even if the decision to introduce S-300PMU1 did not terminate the development of HQ-9, it shows the special status. Investment in the HQ-9 had not been interrupted after several generations of leaders, and the attitude of high-level leaders often governs the fate weapons and equipment.
Reform and opening up in China's development injected new vitality with the improvement of relations with Western countries, China also took the opportunity to seek from Western countries much-needed military technology. However, because at this time SAMs were in transition from the second generation to third generation, the West was willing to sell the second generation of surface to air missiles, which did not meet the needs of China, while the third generation of surface to air missiles were not to be sold to China. There was also domestic resistnace, taking economic development as the center, and military spending was slashed, with most of the various branches of scientific research, improvement projects stalled for lack of money. The honeymoon with Western air missile air defense capabilities rapidly increasing desire, but nothing came of it.
An unexpected turn came from in 15 May 1989 visit of Gorbachev to China. Sino-Soviet relations were normalized, which had s been in a state of complete interruption. Subsequently Soviet trade was re-opened, and the former "comrades and brothers" in the Soviet Union signed many new weapons deals with China. The world did not expect the collapse of the Soviet Union in just a few months. Due to the collapse of the domestic economy, Russia relied for funds from promoting the arms trade, and the Russian military arsenal was completely open - including to China. Western countries imposed sanction on China, forcing China to look to Russia for more advanced weapons. Finally, in 1992, China imported from Russia in succession a considerable number of long-range S-300 air defense missile series to meet the land and to the urgent need for air defense.
The HQ-9 is the Chinese counterpart, with Chinese characteristics, to the US Patriot missile, which entered service in 1972 after the US spent a total of 13 years in R & D. The Soviet Union began the development of the S-300P in 1967 and also spent 13 years before it entered service; Taiwan's Sky Bow I began design work in 1981, and entered service 12 years later. The HQ-9 started development about 1980, which continued to 1995 for the initial small amount of production of experimental units delivered to trials. So about 15 years was required, given China's relatively backward scientific and technological strength to develop such missiles.
By Chinese understanding, there was still more than half of generation of the technology gap by 1995 relative to the United States and Russia. Though there were difficulties in the development process, the Chinese recognized that, once they broke through bottlenecks, HQ-9 production technology wold significantly enhance the research and development level of China's air defense missiles, enbabling the Chinese to catch up with the world advanced level.
The HQ-9 performance was less favorable than the S-300PMU, S-400, S-300V, Patriot II PLUS (PAC-2 +) and PAC3 in terms of engagement volume and maximum range. From the performance of these it can be seen that the engine technology and thrust efficiency of the HQ-9 are not first-class, reflecting the solid motor immaturity. But in recent years China's solid rocket motor technology has made a leap forward.
The HQ-9 was first test-fired at the end of 1994, after which technical progress was made with various modifications, such as composite thermal structure of the long tail nozzle, anti-static anti-RF safety ignition technology, in order to reduce the Motor Exhaust on missile guidance signal attenuation and interference, specifically a kind of modified low smoke propellant to substantially increase the missile's control accuracy and survivabilit. among these new technologies was [as with KS-1, S-300PMU1, PAC-2 +, Sky Bow I] TVM (Track Via Missile).
In 1997 the HQ-9 served in a small experimental unit that was involved in air defense operations. Combat alert duty missions shot down in high-altitude reconnaissance balloons and unmanned reconnaissance aircraft. In July 1999, after further improvement of the initial batch, for the first time therer were successful tests in the northwest range; in late August, the first air defense forces of another experiment in live-fire target practice at high altitude test, when the phased array radar long-range tracking immediately after finding target lock engaged a drone missile. Then HQ-9 engaged different types of high, medium and low altitude drones, the scene was watching the Air Force Commander Liu Shunyao and other generals who saw the HQ-9's superior operational performance and rapid response capability of radar electronic system, which left a deep impression, and they spoke highly of the system.
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