The entire air defense arsenal of China's military industries was shown to the public for the first time at the on-going Airshow China 2012 in Zhuhai, Guangdong Province, including some systems that had never been seen.
Offering unprecedented openness, the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASTC) and China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC) showcased the FD-2000 and LY-80, export versions of the domestic HQ-9 (Red Flag-9) long range and HQ-16 mid-range Surface to Air Missile (SAM) systems used by the People's Liberation Army.
"The LY-80 is excellent in engaging aircraft and missiles flying at all altitudes. Its minimum interception altitude is only 15 meters, while the domestic-use version can hit targets flying even lower," Zong Wenbo, vice dean of CASTC's Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology, told the Global Times, noting that the navy's version of the missile performed very well in drills.
The system also has excellent anti-jamming capability and only needs 12 minutes to be fully deployed, he added.
A chief engineer surnamed Xu with the CASIC told the Global Times that the long-range FD-2000 missile system has already attracted some potential buyers but refused to say who they are. The export version of the Chinese HQ-9, the Russian S-300 and the US Patriot missiles are now competing for sales in Turkey's national missile defense system project, said foreign media reports.
Short range SAM and point-defense guns would provide the last line of defense if enemy fighters and stand-off munitions successfully penetrate the long-and middle-range SAM shields.
Chinese military enthusiasts have long complained that China lacks domestic high mobility medium to short-range SAMs. CASIC's FK-1000 combined missile-gun system effectively ends these worries.
The new system on display has integrated air search radar, fire control radar and missile launch systems into one vehicle, thus greatly enhancing its independent combat capability and survivability. The layout of the missile resembles the Russian 9M311 missile, which was exported to China in 2005.
Also at the Airshow, the China South Industries Group Corporation unveiled its 30 millimeter caliber 6 barrel mobile Gatling gun. According to the manufacturer, it can fire a curtain of bullets to destroy enemy aircraft and cruise missiles at very close range.
However, in the international arms sale market, Chinese defense industries have only achieved limited success in exporting advanced military aviation and air defense weapons.
"Though the process of exploring foreign markets would be extremely difficult, the existence of China-made advanced weapons offers non-traditional allies of the West an alternative choice and would subtly change international relations," said Bai Wei, former deputy chief editor of the Aviation World Monthly.