June 20, 2018

Quick Facts

PRC Designation HQ-9
Variants HQ-9A, HQ-9B, HQ-9C, HHQ-9, HHQ-9A, FD-2000, FT-2000
Mobility and Role Ground-based/road-mobile; long-range air and missile defense
Range 100km (FT-2000), 200 km (HQ-9), 250 km (HQ-9A), or 300 km (HQ-9B)

HT-223 Multifunction radar for illuminating and homing


-120 km target detection range

-90 km target tracking range

Targets Low-flying aircraft, cruise missiles, air-to-ground missiles, and tactical ballistic missiles
Status/Exports Operational; Exported to Algeria, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, and Turkmenistan
Designer/Producer China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC)


The Hong Qi-9 (HQ-9) is a ground-based, extended range, mobile air defense system developed by the People’s Republic of China and based extensively on the Russian S-300 PMU system.[i]Since its initial development in 1997, HQ-9 has undergone significant upgrades and spurred naval, anti-radiation, and export-designated variants. Most land-based HQ-9 variants can hit targets at ranges of up to 200 kilometers and altitudes of up to 30,000 meters.[ii]While its single-shot kill probability is as high as 90 percent against airplanes, it may be much lower—about 30 percent—against ballistic missiles.[iii]

Variant Modifications
HQ-9A Improved electronic equipment and software provide the 9A with higher accuracy and probability of kill[iv]
HQ-9B Longer 300 km range; an additional seeker provides semi-active radar homing and infrared homing modes[v]
HQ-9C Currently in development; incorporates fully active radar homing[vi]
HHQ-9 Naval variant identical to HQ-9; launched from VLS tubes in Lanzhou class destroyers[vii]
HHQ-9A Naval variant identical to HQ-9A
FD-2000 Identical to original HQ-9, but designed for export with minor electronic improvements
FT-2000 Anti-radiation system; range of up to 100 km

Each HQ-9 launcher contains four missiles stored in individual containers and is transported on Taian TA5380 8×8 high mobility chassis.[viii]HQ-9’s standard HT-233 engagement radar can track 100 targets and engage 50 of them at a range of 100 km.[ix]A normal PLA HQ-9 battery includes “a command vehicle, six control vehicles, 6 targeting radar vehicles, 6 search-radar vehicles, 48 missile-launch vehicles, and 192 missiles.”[x]HQ-9 can use a variety of radar sensors to detect different targets, including ballistic missiles and stealth objects. A battery may include HT-233 engagement radar, H-200 mobile engagement radar, and a number of search radars like the Type 120 low altitude acquisition radar, Type 305A 3D acquisition radar, or Type 305B 3D acquisition radar.[xi]

Strategic Implications

HQ-9 represents the backbone of the Chinese missile defense program. Its complicated lineage reflects the changing demands and constraints of Chinese air defenses over time. The original HQ-9 was reportedly born out of the United States’ technological superiority and victory in the Gulf War, which awakened Beijing to the fact that its air defenses were lacking against precision-guided munitions, stealth aircraft, and airborne C4I.[xii]Original HQ-9 interceptors traveled slower than comparable Western or Russian systems, in part due to the HQ-9 missile’s massive 180-kg warhead. However, recent upgrades like the HQ-9A and HQ-9B offer faster, lighter interceptors. Modern HQ-9B interceptors use inertial guidance during flight and active radar homing during their terminal phase, enhancing the probability of kill against several targets. HQ-9 fills the role of medium-long range defense in Chinese aerial defense systems, though in recent years it has been replaced by the HQ-18.


November 30, 2016:Iraq finalizing $2.5 billion deal with China for HQ-9 SAM.[xiii]

2016:HQ-9B presented at an exhibition in Zhuhai, China.[xiv]

September 2013: China wins Turkey’s T-LORAMIDS program contract to import twelve HQ-9 systems.[xv]

2013: China begins production of the HQ-9A.

March 2009: China unveils the FD-2000 export variant of the HQ-9 at the Africa Aerospace and Defence Exhibition in Cape Town.[xvi]

2006: HQ-9B is tested for the first time, featuring a dual seeker with both semi-active and infrared homing.[xvii]

2000: Chinese documents label the need for “HQ-19,” a vastly upgraded version of the HQ-9.

1999: HQ-9A is tested for the first time.[xviii]

1997: HQ-9 achieves initial operational capacity.[xix]

1994: China purchases 120 additional S-300PMU missiles from Russia.
1993: Israel allegedly sells China a Patriot missile system or technical information.

1991: China purchases 4-6 S-300PMU batteries from Russia.

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