Analysis of anti-ship missiles and on-board air defense system unveiled during 2019 Chinese military parade

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A variety of land-to-ship missiles, ship-to-ship missiles, “YJ-12” and “YJ-18 / 18A” as well as the latest on-board air defense weapons “HHQ-9A” were presented in the part of the naval battle group formations that marched through Beijing in a military parade marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.


YJ-12 Air Launch Anti-Ship Cruise Missile (ASCM) (Image source: Chinese Internet)


The YJ-12B land-to-ship missiles, which debuted in the Chinese military parade, can strike large and medium-sized ships and play an important role in China’s coastal defense system. An upgraded version of the YJ-12 supersonic anti-ship missile, the YJ-12B has a maximum range of 310 miles and could be stationed in remote islands, such as those in the South China Sea. China says the missile can sink medium to large-sized ships in surprise attacks and will serve as a cornerstone of the country’s naval defense system.

The YJ-12 is an air-launched anti-ship cruise missile (ASCM) that China deploys on its strategic medium-range H-6K bombers. The YJ-12 has a range of 400 km, can reach speeds of up to Mach 3, and is capable of performing airborne avoidance maneuvers before reaching its target. [1] China began to develop the YJ-12 in the 1990s and began deploying it aboard its bombers in the 2000s. While the YJ-12 is launched by air, the CM-302 export variant can be launched from air, land or sea platforms and used in a land attack role.

The YJ-12 poses a number of security concerns for US navies in the Pacific and is considered the “most dangerous anti-ship missile that China has produced to date.” [2] The danger posed by the YJ-12 comes from its range of 400 km, making it the longest-range ACBM ever designed, and its ability to travel at high speeds (up to Mach 3). This makes it difficult for Aegis combat systems and the SM-2 surface-to-air missiles that protect US aircraft carrier attack groups to identify and engage the missile as it can be launched beyond their range. engagement, which significantly reduces the reaction time of the US Navy. Protection against the YJ-12 is even more difficult due to its corkscrew tricks that allow it to evade final defenses. With the combination of the Chinese Flankers, the YJ-12 can potentially reach up to 1900 km, which could cause an even bigger problem for the United States than the Chinese DF-21D ASBM. The deployment of the YJ-12 and the development of associated ASCMs also demonstrate China’s desire to deploy anti-access and area denial capabilities in the event of future conflict.


Analysis of anti-ship missiles and on-board air defense system unveiled during Chinese military parade 925 002 The latest YJ-18 Beijing anti-ship cruise missiles (Image source: Chinese Internet)


YJ-18 and YJ-18A are Beijing’s latest anti-ship cruise missiles. First shown, both missiles can be launched from both submarines and ships. They have been described as China’s “secret weapons” for naval warfare. Both missiles can be launched vertically from ships and travel at up to three times the speed of sound, it is claimed. YJ is the acronym for ‘eagle strike’ in Chinese.

The YJ-18 is a vertical launch anti-ship cruise missile (ASCM) that can travel at supersonic speeds up to Mach 3 and has a range of 540 km. The YJ-18 carries up to 300kg of explosive warheads (HE) that can take out a destroyer-sized ship and seriously damage an aircraft carrier-sized ship. The PLA Navy deploys the YJ-18 on its Luyang III DDG and Type 055 CG surface combatants and on Song, Yuan and Shang class attack submarines. Although China currently has only one Luyang III destroyer with a vertical launch system capable of firing the YJ-18, it plans to have ten more ships operational by 2017.

The YJ-18’s ability to accelerate to supersonic speeds near its target makes it difficult for ships to destroy the incoming missile with cannons on board. This ASCM also increases the safety distance for Chinese ships and contributes to their anti-access zone denial (A2 / AD) capabilities. China’s A2 / AD capabilities could prove critical in a conflict in the Western Pacific and add to its growing arsenal of anti-ship cruise and ballistic missiles.


Analysis of anti-ship missiles and on-board air defense system unveiled during Chinese military parade 925 003 HHQ-9 long-range air defense missiles (Image source: Chinese Internet)


The HQ-9 is a long-range surface-to-air missile designed to counter a wide range of air threats such as supersonic aircraft, helicopters, cruise missiles, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). It was designed by the Chinese Academy of Defense Technology to counter targets at distances of up to 200 kilometers and at altitudes of up to 30,000 meters. The HQ-9 missile is used by a ground mobile air defense known as the HQ-9A and its naval version which is provided to surface fighters.

The HQ-9B or HHQ-9B is a new long-range, vertical-launch surface-to-air missile (SAM) developed for the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to engage airborne targets at distances of up to 250 kilometers. The HHQ-9A missile system supplied to Type 052C destroyers consists of eight six-cell Vertical Launch Systems (VLS), six of them on the foredeck and two on the rear.

The Chinese designed VLS features a cylindrical shape and “cold launch” compared to Western VLSs such as Mk-41 and Sylver which are rectangular and use a “hot launch”. The main difference between cold and hot launches is that the rocket motor ignites or in the launch tube. The Chinese VLS is also not based on the Russian revolver launching system which also has six cells.

Each HQ-9 launcher contains four missiles stored in individual containers and is transported on a Taian TA5380 8 × 8 high mobility chassis. HQ-9’s standard HT-233 engagement radar can track 100 targets and engage 50 at a range of 100 km. A normal PLA HQ-9 battery consists of “one command vehicle, six control vehicles, 6 targeting radar vehicles, 6 search radar vehicles, 48 ​​missile vehicles and 192 missiles”. HQ-9 can use a variety of radar sensors to detect different targets, including ballistic missiles and stealth objects. A battery can include an HT-233 engagement radar, an H-200 mobile engagement radar, and a number of search radars like the Type 120 low-altitude acquisition radar, 3D acquisition radar type 305A or the 3D acquisition radar type 305B.



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