(From Popular Science/Eastern Arsenal)
By Jeffrey Lin and P.W. Singer
Long-range missiles and gatling cannons
The People’s Liberation Army Navy has made waves across the South China Sea by rotating heavy missile launchers to the Paracel Islands, also disputed by Taiwan and Vietnam. In addition to YJ-62 anti-ship missiles, recent television footage shows PLAN air defense units engaged in live fire exercise on the islands, a clear counterpoint to recent US naval voyages and flights inside those disputed waters. While China has deployed anti-aircraft guns to the Paracels in the past, the deployment, even if temporary, of an integrated, multi-layer air defense network and anti-ship missiles on those islands is a quantum leap in China’s ability to control the air and sea-space outside of China proper.
For any aircraft or missiles that manage to give the HQ-9 the slip, the shorter ranged HQ-6 SAM will be waiting to sweep up the survivors. Based on the PL-11 air-to-air missile, the HQ-6 has a range of up to 20 kilometers. Being based on an air-to-air missile, its maneuverability at low altitudes makes it a good choice to hit cruise missiles, which can fly low as 10 meters above the ground (too low for most long range SAMs like the HQ-9). Read more