Chinese HQ-9 SAM System

HQ-9 is a modern mobile strategic SAM system roughly analogous to the Russian-made S-300PMU (SA-10B GRUMBLE). The HQ-9 has a range of 100 kilometers, an increase over the S-300PMU's 90 kilometer maximum range but less than that of the S-300PMU-1's 150 kilometers.

The containerized missiles are carried in groups of four on the back of wheeled TELs very similar in design to that of the S-300P's 5P85. Target prosecution is handled by the HT-233 phased-array radar system, mounted on a wheeled chassis in a configuration very similar to that employed by the S-300PMU, which mounts the 30N6 (FLAP LID) engagement radar on a MAZ-7910 chassis. The HT-233 radar is likely capable of engaging multiple targets thanks to its phased-array construction.

The similarities between the S-300PMU components and the HQ-9 components may be the result of a limited reverse-engineering effort. China had no prior experience in developing a modern, high-performance strategic SAM system, and it is likely that the S-300P was examined as either a possible starting point or at the very least a general roadmap for component design.

Espionage efforts may have aided the development effort as well, as the HT-233's radar array bears some similarities to the MIM-104 PATRIOT's AN/MPQ-53 phased-array radar. Were the HQ-9 to be an amalgamation of S-300PMU and PATRIOT technology, it would have to be regarded as a very formidable weapon system, although there is no reason to doubt the system's effectiveness were this not to be the case.

The HQ-9's 100 kilometer range and multiple target engagement capability means that fewer SAM sites are now required to defend a given portion of airspace.
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