Chinese media have criticized Soviet and Russian-made Syrian air defense systems. In this regard, the question arises as to which air defense systems China uses.
The implementation of programs to modernize the armed forces of China has yielded results. Now China has one of the most advanced air defense and missile defense systems in the world. Of course, the Chinese air defense system is inferior to the Russian and American, but compares favorably with the air defense of most other countries of the world.
The basis of the combat power of China's anti-aircraft missile forces, which are part of the structure of the country's air force, are Soviet, Russian and Chinese anti-aircraft missile systems. Firstly, these are the S-300PMU-1 and S-300PMU-2, delivered to China in the 1990s - 2000s. Secondly, these are not so long ago delivered S-400s. But the scale of supplies of S-400 to China is much smaller in volume when compared with supplies of S-300PMU. Thirdly, these are actually Chinese anti-aircraft missile systems.
Now China is gradually replacing the S-300PMU SAM system of its own production. For example, in the vicinity of Shanghai, instead of the S-300PMU anti-aircraft missile battalion, the HQ-9A air defense missile division was deployed. According to U.S. intelligence, by 2018, the PLA had 16 divisions of anti-aircraft missile systems HQ-9 and HQ-9A.
The maximum range of the air defense system is 200 km, the height of interception is from 500 meters to 30 km, the range of interception of BRs is 30 km. An anti-aircraft missile system is deployed in 6 minutes.
It is interesting that the HQ-9 air defense system, having borrowed a lot from the S-300PMU anti-aircraft missile systems, is not a modification of them. In particular, American experts write that the HT-233 multifunctional radar has some similarities with the AN / MPQ-53 radar, which is used in the Patriot air defense system of the USA.
Apparently, the Chinese, according to their usual method, took the best from both Soviet and Russian, and American models of anti-aircraft missile weapons. Representatives of the PLA argue that the modification of the HQ-9C / B air defense system is not inferior to the Russian S-300PMU-2 anti-aircraft missile system in its key characteristics.
At the same time, the Chinese media very positively evaluate the new Russian S-500 air defense system. So, an enthusiastic article about the S-500 air defense system was published by the Chinese edition of Sina:
The combat effectiveness of the entire complex will be several times greater than the effectiveness of any modern air defense system in the world. For comparison, all previous air defense systems are also inferior to the S-500.
In addition to the HQ-9 air defense system, the PLA is also armed with the NQ-16A air defense system, which was also used to create the Buk Russian anti-aircraft missile systems. In total, in the PLAk there are at least 4 divisions of similar air defense systems. The Chinese equivalent of the "Shell-C1" can be called FK-1000.
Air defense cannot be imagined without radar stations. In China, the radio engineering forces are also part of the PLA Air Force and are armed with the YLC-2 and YLC-18 radars. YLC-2, which forms the basis of the RTV PLA, in the early 2000s. It underwent modernization, after which it received a new digital signal processor and became able to detect enemy air targets, including stealth, at a distance of 200 km. In addition to the radar, the PLA also has about 20 AWACS aircraft.
The main focus of the Chinese air defense is to protect the country's largest cities - Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin, industrial zones and infrastructure in Hebei province and in the Yangtze and Pearl River Delta. At one time, China, due to the weak development of air defense systems in the 1950s and 1970s, was very vulnerable to attack from the north. Therefore, the main task was to provide cover from possible attacks from the USSR.
After the collapse of the USSR and the change in the global political situation, the United States became the likely No. 1 opponent for China, respectively, and the main lines of defense have changed - today attacks are expected from American bases in Japan and South Korea and ships in the Pacific Ocean. Areas near the Taiwan Strait are also considered as strategically important zones.
The undoubted advantage of China's air defense is that it is constantly being modernized. China invests heavily in improving existing and developing new air defense systems, perfectly understanding their need in modern conditions.