October 7, 2011: China has put into service at least one battalion of its new HQ-16A anti-aircraft missiles. This is a land based version of the HQ-16 system used in ships (and fired from VLS (Vertical Launch System) containers. This system is a license built version of the Russian Buk M2 anti-aircraft missile systems. These are the latest version of the SAM-6 class missiles, which proved so effective in the 1973 Arab Israeli war.
The M2E missiles weigh 328 kg (720 pounds) and have a max range of 40 kilometers. The land based version has four missiles carried on a tracked vehicle. The target acquisition radar has a range of over 150 kilometers. The export version is called the LY-80. The system can hit targets as high as 10,000 meters (31,000 feet) and as low as a hundred meters (310 feet). The system is carried by an 8x8 truck that contains the radar behind the cab, and behind those are four shipping/firing containers for missiles. These containers are tilted back so that the missiles can be fired straight up, just as they are from VLS cells.
The HQ-16 naval version has the missiles fired out of a vertical storage/launch cell that is flush with the deck of the ship. This is a system pioneered by the United States. This is one reason China has developed new ship designs to replace the Russian ones it has been using for over half a century.