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Air Defense: China Exports VLS System
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May 17, 2011: China recently began offering its HQ-16 VLS (Vertical Launch System) anti-aircraft missile for export. This system is a license built (or using stolen tech) version of the Russian Buk M2 anti-aircraft missile systems. These are the latest version of the SAM-6 class missiles, that proved so effective in the 1973 Arab Israeli war. The M2E missiles weigh 328 kg (720 pounds) and have a max range of 50 kilometers. The land based version has four missiles carried on a tracked vehicle. The target acquisition radar has a range of over 150 kilometers. The export version is called the LY-80.

The HQ-16 naval version has the missiles fired out of a vertical storage/launch cell that is flush with the deck of the ship. This is a system pioneered by the United States. This is one reason China has developed new ship designs to replace the Russian ones it has been using for over half a century. The first of these is the 4,300 ton Type 54 frigate. This ship is based on Western, not Russian, design concepts. Twelve of these have been built so far, plus ten to the more advanced Type 054A standard (each of which has 32 VLS cells for HQ-16 missiles.)


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sunlijen    Corrections   5/17/2011 2:15:27 PM
At present, there are only a total of ten Type 054A series (NATO codename Jiangkai II) multi-mission frigates either commissioned or fitting out, equipped with the HQ-16 32-cell VLS.

Only two ships of the Type 054 series (NATO codename Jiangkai I: Ma'anshan & Wenzhou) that preceded it were commissioned--these are equipped with the HQ-7 8-cell launcher based on the French Crotale SAM system. 

The HQ-7 also equipped the first batch of "modern" PLAN warships indigenously built in the 1990's to have SAM air-defense systems, such as the two Type 052 series (NATO codename Luhu: Harbin & Qingdao) and the single Type 051B (NATO code Luhai: Shenzhen) destroyers; and the ten Type 053H3 (NATO codename Jiangwei II) series frigates.
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warpig       5/18/2011 4:20:45 PM
...and the only pictures I've ever seen of HQ-16 launch vehicles (not that I've been looking specifically for it, but just happened to see on are of a large 6 x 6 wheeled truck carrying up to six missile boxes in two rows of three.
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warpig       5/18/2011 4:21:43 PM
Whoops, I should have typed "cannisters," not "boxes."
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