China's New Type 625 Air Defense System

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army has taken a crucial step in its military capabilities modernization process by introducing the Type 625 short-range air defense system. Recent images shared on Chinese social media on December 28, 2023, show the live-fire exercise in which the PLA 77th Army Group, Western Theater Command participated, highlighting the prowess of this new system and underlining China’s commitment to the modernization of its defense infrastructure.

The Type 625 represents a significant advance in anti-aircraft weaponry, combining a powerful 25mm Gatling anti-aircraft gun with surface-to-air missile launchers. Specifically designed to counter low-altitude threats such as helicopters, Su-25s and combat drones, this system is positioned as a response to emerging challenges in modern air warfare.

China's New Type 625 Air Defense System
Type 625E short-range air defense system of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.

This system integrates a six-barrel 25mm Gatling gun system capable of targeting various aerial threats within a range of 2.5 km and an altitude ceiling of 2 km. In addition to its role in anti-aircraft defense, the cannon demonstrates effectiveness in ground combat against light armored vehicles.

Mounted on a high mobility 8×8 wheel chassis and equipped with advanced radar, optoelectronic detectors and sensitive radar variants, the Type 625 system stands out for its adaptability and precision. Sophisticated features, such as the high-sensitivity radar variant capable of detecting tiny objects with minimal reflective surfaces, signal China’s progress toward a comprehensive and versatile air defense network.

In terms of missile capability, the Type 625 system incorporates four FB-10 air defense missiles on each side of the turret. The FB-10, developed by China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation, is a mobile light air defense missile system designed for the export market.

With a range of 10 kilometers and an altitude of 15 to 5,000 meters, this missile has a hybrid dual-mode infrared/radar guidance system, especially relevant in defense against anti-ship missiles with radar emitters.

The Type 625E integrated missile artillery system is supported by an 8×8 wheeled high mobility chassis, probably a variant of the ZBL-08 wheeled infantry fighting vehicle. This configuration includes a large control room next to the body cabin and a combat module (turret) that integrates Gatling guns, anti-aircraft missiles and fire control systems.

Additionally, some photos of the Type 625E show a radar that could complement the system’s anti-aircraft function by detecting and tracking low-altitude aircraft, such as drones, helicopters and cruise missiles, before entering combat.