Sunday, April 17, 2011

HQ-10 (aka Chinese RAM) for close in air defense

HQ-10 (aka Chinese RAM) for close in air defense: "Back in 2008's Zhuhai airshow, a mysterious SAM called FL-3000N was shown and looked a lot like RIM-116 (aka RAM). You can see my commentary on this system at the bottom of my blog entry on Zhuhai 2008.

At the time, I thought it was more of an export project, since Zhuhai airshow tend to display those more prominently. I was also under the impression that PLAN was going the route of using new air defense guns as the next generation CIWS. It turned out with the recent Varyag photos, that they have decided to field both this new SAM (domestic designation is supposedly HQ-10) and what looks to be Type 730 (commonly found on most recent PLAN warships) on Varyag.

You can see them clearly on Varyag now that their tarp (at least 3 identified installations on Varyag) are finally uncovered.

As with many new weapon systems in PLAN, they are tested on the 892 test ship. We can basically identify two variants of HQ-10. The first one is installed in the front of the ship with 24 launch tubes. You can see it clearly with the first 2 pictures. The second is installed on a platform on top of the helipad of the ship with 18 launch tubes. You can see it clearly with the last 2 pictures taken about 3 weeks apart. Now, it seems like the one in the back is the one installed on Varyag if we count up the number of launch tubes. It also seems like there is a storage compartment beneath the platform it was installed on, which would indicate that it is storing missiles for automatic reload. The one in the front is unlikely to require deck penetration, since it is installed directly on the deck of 892. I don't think they would do the extra work of modifying the front section of 892 just for testing this out. So, that would tell me that the version in front is used for installations that do not allow for deck space below and the version at back is used for installations that do allow for one level of penetration. It also would explain why the version in front carries 24 launch tubes instead of 18.


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