Air Defense: Asian Clone Wars

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March 28, 2017: On March 12th 2017 Pakistan put the first LOMADS (Low to Medium Altitude Air Defense System) HQ-16 mobile anti-aircraft missile battalion into service. Pakistan ordered three HQ-16 batteries and six search radars in 2013 and additional batteries in 2014. The HQ-16 is apparently going to become the standard medium range anti-aircraft system in Pakistan replacing elderly French systems. .

Ironically the Pakistanis bought the HQ-16 to replace the French Crotale system, a 1970s vintage system that both China and Pakistan used. China reverse-engineered the French Crotale system to produce the HQ-7, which entered Chinese service in 1987. The export version was first offered in 1998. The search radar has a max range of 25 kilometers, and 84.5 kg (186 pound) missiles with a max range of 15 kilometers. The warhead has a proximity (radar) fuze, which detonates when the radar controlled missiles comes close enough to a target. There is also a visual tracking system, with a range of 15 kilometers. An HQ-7 battalion consists of three search radars, nine tracking radars and 36 launcher vehicles, each with four missiles.

The HQ-7 was replaced by the HQ-16, which is based on licensed Russian technology. China began using the HQ-16A anti-aircraft system in 2011 when the army received the first HQ-16A battalion. This is a land based version of the HQ-16 system used in ships. This system is based on 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 although the latest (HQ-16B) version has a range of 70 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).

Each HQ-16 battalion has a truck mounted target acquisition radar has a range of over 150 kilometers. There are is also a truck mounted command and control system as well as trucks for maintenance. A battalion usually has four batteries but some battalions have been seen with as few as two batteries.

Each battery has a truck mounted tracking radar (range 85 kilometers) that can detect six and track four targets. This radar supports up to four 8x8 launcher trucks each containing shipping/firing containers for six missiles. These containers are tilted back so that the missiles can be fired straight up, just as they are from VLS (Vertical Launch System) cells. The HQ-16 naval version has the missiles fired out of VLS that are flush with the deck of the ship. The VLS design was pioneered by the United States during the Cold War and is standard in most Western navies.

 

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