The Hong Qi 9, often known as the HQ-9, is a Chinese air defense missile. It is relatively similar to the Russian S-300. Some sources indicate it is made with Russia’s assistance. 

China Precision Machinery Import & Export Corporation (CPMIEC), a Beijing-based defense business, created the Hong Qi 9 (HQ-9) long-range air defense missile system.

At medium to long ranges, the HQ-9 can intercept various aircraft, helicopters, UAVs, cruise missiles, air-to-ground missiles, guided bombs, and theatre ballistic missiles.

The HQ-9 surface-to-air missile system, which uses more modern electronics than the Russian S-300, was created much later. Notably, it makes use of more recent computer technologies.

With various modifications and improved technology, it now has a 100-300km range. China has exported the weapon to multiple countries such as Algeria, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. 

HQ-9 specs

HQ-9 is a two-stage air defense missile with improved guidance and anti-jamming capabilities. The first stage is 700mm, and the second stage is 560mm. The 6.8m-long, 2,000kg missile’ speed can reach Mach 4.2.

The missile can carry a 180kg HE-FRAG payload to the range of 200km and at an altitude of 30km. The warhead’s 35m proximity fuse is activated 5km from the target. The missile’s exposed thrust vector control (TVC) distinguishes it from S-300Vs.

HQ-9 Radar System

The battery has radars as follows:

Type 120 low-altitude acquisition radar

Type 305A 3D acquisition radar,

 H-200 mobile engagement radar

Type 305B 3D acquisition radar.

The HT-233 radar has a 120km detection range and a 90km tracking range. The radar can track 100 flying targets and engage 50 at 100km.

Guidance system & vehicle launch;

The HQ-9’s track-via-missile (TVM) guidance system uses a combination of inertial guidance, mid-course uplink, and active radar terminal guidance systems. Some missiles have a semi-active radar homing feature that can be used with radio command guidance.

The HQ-9 transporter erector launcher (TEL) is placed on a Taian TA5380 8*8 high mobility tactical truck chassis when it needs to fire the truck’s back side’s compartment rise at the vertical position. At the same time, two stabilizers are placed at the rear and center of the chassis. 

A TWS-312 battery command post controls six TEL trucks linked to an HT-233 3D C-band mono-pulse planar phased array engagement radar.

A typical PLA HQ-9 battery has 48 missile-launch vehicles, 192 missiles, a command vehicle, six targeting radar vehicles, six control vehicles, and six search-radar vehicles. Communications, positioning, power supply, and support vehicles are also included.

Hong Qi 9 Variants 

Hong Qi 9 variants include FD-2000, HQ-9A, HQ-9B, HQ-9C, and HHQ-9. The HQ-9A variant entered service in 2001. It is capable of  Advanced electronics and software to boost precision and kill rate.

In 2014, the HQ-9B, with a larger range and extra seeker, began operations. It’s a new ground-to-air missile defense system with a 250km range and 50km height. China deployed the HQ-9B ground-to-air missile defense system to South China Sea manmade islands in 2016.

The Chinese airforce tested the improved HQ-9B in severe conditions in May 2021. HQ-9A and HQ-9B’s have naval variants. These are HHQ-9A and HHQ-9B.  And the C version will have active radar homing.