China tests air defence system in high altitude region: What is the HQ-17A?

According to reports, China’s People’s Liberation Army(PLA) tested its new surface-to-air defence missile HQ-17A in the high-altitude region ahead of India, US military exercise near the Line of Actual Control(LAC).

Reports said earlier India and the US were set to conduct military exercises in Uttarkhand near the China border next month. China had conducted large-scale military exercise near Taiwan after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island nation.

Reports claimed a missile hit a plane as China tested its HQ-17A short-range air defence missile.

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What is the HQ-17A short-range air defence?

PLA’s Xinjiang Military Command had commissioned the HQ-17 air defence missile system this year after it first appeared during the National Day military parade in October 2019. The Global Times said HQ-17A air defence missile system is an integrated “search radar, guidance radar, air defence radar and command system”. It is hosted on a vehicle and can conduct long-range detection and launch missiles while on the move.

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Reports claim the missile is based on the Russian Tor-M1 surface-to-air missile defence system. HQ-17 can also “data-link” with other Chinese systems.

The missile weighs 165 kg and can intercept flying objects at a distance of 1.5 km to 15 km.

HQ-17A deployed with Xinjiang Military Command 

The Xinjiang Military command is responsible for the India-China border area. Tensions between the two countries had peaked in June 2020 along the LAC as soldiers from both sides clashed leading to the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers and 4 PLA fighters. However, reports claimed the casualties among the PLA were much higher.

PLA’s Xinjiang Military Command also received artillery and multiple rocket launch systems in January, China’s state-run Global Times reported. The arsenal included self-propelled howitzer and multiple rocket launcher systems.

The reports said more units would get advanced gear as China ramps up its military along the Indian border.

(With inputs from Agencies)