China’s shooting stars
China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO), the leading supplier of weapon systems to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), has revealed two new missile systems at Eurosatory.
The first is the Sky Dragon medium-range surface-to-air missile system (SAM), which is now completing its development. A Sky Dragon battery typically consists of three elements: one IBIS 130 3D target designation radar; one fire distribution vehicle (FDV); and three to six launching units, each of which has four SAMs, which are elevated into the ready-to-launch position. The radar has a maximum range of 130km and can detect up to 144 targets. The FDV is capable of providing target guidance for 12 missiles simultaneously.
The single-stage solid propellant missile has a target engagement range of between 3km and 50km and from 30m to 20km in altitude.
Missile guidance is strap-down inertial navigation, radio correction and finally radar active homing, with a single-shot kill probability against a fighter type target of at least 80 per cent being claimed. Also newly promoted on the Norinco Stand B411 in Hall 6 is an air-to-surface missile known as Blue Arrow 7, which equates roughly in capability to the AGM-114 Hellfire. It is an export derivative of the HJ-10 missile that arms China’s Z-10 attack helicopter, although it has also been associated with the WZ-9 helicopter and the Wing Loong-1, a Predator-like UAV. Material displayed here depicts the weapon mounted on a four-round launcher and firing from a Mil Mi-17 helicopter testbed.
While the HJ-10 for the Z-10 is thought to have a range of seekers available, including millimetre- wave radar, the export Blue Arrow 7 is being offered with semi-active laser guidance and an associated stabilised sighting system.
The missile has a tandem HEAT warhead that can penetrate 1.4m, and it offers a top-attack trajectory option. Launch weight is 47kg and the effective range is quoted as being between 2km and 8km.