Air Defense: China In Syria


July 19, 2012: In Syria rebels recently captured a Chinese Type 120 radar, which was being operated by Syrian soldiers. This radar is usually part of the HQ-9 anti-aircraft missile system. China probably sold the HQ-9 to Iran, which may have passed the Type 120 radar on to Syria (as it had with many other Chinese military equipment). There was no sign of the HQ-9 in Syria but it may be there and hidden. In general, China sells to anyone who can pay.

The Type 120 is carried and operated from a heavy truck. This radar can be put into service in less than fifteen minutes then shut down and on the road again in ten minutes. The JY-11B has a max detection range of 300 kilometers. China has been selling the HQ-9 and Type 120 radar to export customers for years, but it was not known until now that Syria had the Type 120.

About a decade ago China began delivering the HQ-9 to its army and navy (on ships). Over a decade of development was believed to have benefitted from data stolen from similar American and Russian systems. The HQ-9 missile is similar to the U.S. "Patriot," while the radar apparently derived much technology from that used in the Russian S-300 system. The HQ-9 missile has a max range of about 100 kilometers, weighs 1.3 tons, and has a passive (no broadcasting) seeker in the missile.

Most of the HQ-9 systems used by the Chinese army are mobile. Army HQ-9 brigades have a brigade headquarters (with a command vehicle and four trucks for communications and maintenance), six battalions (each with a missile control vehicle, a targeting radar vehicle, a search radar vehicle, and eight missile-launch-vehicles, each carrying four missiles in containers).






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