At Airshow China 2022, China first showed the public the HQ-16FE medium and long-range air defense missile system.
The HQ-16FE system, operated by the PLA’s ground force, has an operational range up to 160km, significantly increased compared to the original version, which has a range of 40 to 70 km.
As for the missiles of the new version, they are equipped with a number of advanced equipment such as semi-active or active synthetic radar seeker, advanced integrated engine and directional warhead. The HQ-16FE can effectively intercept targets such as medium and long-range aircraft, hypersonic missiles as well as cruise and tactical ballistic missiles.
HQ-16FE is an upgraded version of HQ-16, a medium range semi-active radar homing surface-to-air missile developed by the People’s Republic of China. Development of the HQ-16 began in 2005. Some source claims the development was reportedly assisted by Russian company Almaz-Antey, and the system is reportedly based on the combination of Buk-M1 and Buk-M2 surface-to-air missile systems.
HQ-16 features vertical launch system, giving it 360 degree coverage and capability to fire in complicated geographical environment, which Buk system lacks. The missile system is mounted on a Chinese-designed 6×6 high mobility chassis instead of tracked platforms, providing ease of maintenance and better road mobility. In 2011, the development was completed and the HQ-16 was officially inducted into service. In 2016, an upgraded version named HQ-16B was unveiled. Due to an improved rocket motor and revised wings, the range was increased to 70 km. The upgraded version also appeared to have a longer body.
A typical formation consists of one command vehicle, one search radar vehicle, 3 radar guidance vehicles and 12 launch vehicles. Each launch vehicle carries up to 6 missiles. According to ArmyRecognition, technical support equipment for the system includes missile transportation and loading vehicle, power supply vehicle, maintenance vehicle, and missile-test equipment. The command vehicle is responsible to send target information and combat orders.
The HQ-16 missile weighs 650 kg, has a length of 5.2 m and a diameter of 0.34 m. It can intercept flying aerial targets at altitudes of 15 km to 18 km. Maximum interception range for aircraft is 40 km, between 3.5 km and 12 km for cruise missiles flying at 300 m/s. The manufacturer claims the single shot kill probability is 85% against aircraft and 60% against cruise missiles. The missile has a speed of 1200 m/s. The missile guidance system comprises inertial guidance and semi-active radar homing at the terminal phase.
The search radar vehicle is equipped with a mast mounting an IBIS 150 S-band 3D PESA radar. When a target is detected, the search radar automatically performs Identification Friend-or-Foe, threat judgment, flight path processing and provides target engagement information to the guidance radar. The search radar has a range of 140 km and can detect targets flying up to an altitude of 20 km. It can detect up to 144 targets and track 48 simultaneously.
The radar guidance vehicle is equipped with an L band PESA that controls the missile launching and target illumination after the missile is fired. The radar has a range of 85 km and can detect up to 6 targets, track 4 simultaneously and provide fire control for 8 missiles.
The launch vehicle is a Taian 6×6 high-mobility truck. It is powered by a 250hp Deutz turbocharged diesel engine produced in China under license. The vehicle has a road range of 1,000 km and maximum road speed of 85 km/h. Prior to firing, the wheels are lifted off the ground by 4 hydraulic jacks and the 6 missile canisters are tilted back to a vertical position.