Air Defense: Lucky Number Eight


June 12, 2007: China is selling three new portable anti-aircraft missiles, the QW (Qiang Wei) 11, QW18 and QW-1G. These replace the older QW1, QW2, QW3 and QW4 models. These were all copies of various Russian (SA-7, SA-16, SA-18) and American (Stinger) missiles. The ranges were from 3-5 kilometers, weight between 20-30 pounds, and the big differences were in overall reliability (low) and sensitivity of the heat sensor (not bad). Chinese missiles sell for less than half what their Russian or American originals do. The three new models feature improvements in heat sensor sensitivity, counter-measures (ability to spot flares and avoid them), and overall maneuverability. Chinese missile salesmen also admit that the QW18 was so named because the Chinese numeral eight is a lucky number, and incorporating into a weapon name seemed like a good idea. The Chinese offer these missiles to governments, and try to keep them out of the hands of arms smugglers and terrorist groups.


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