Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa said on Thursday that the strategic partnership and defense collaboration between Pakistan and China is a factor of stability in the region, according to a statement issued by the Inter-Service Public Relations (ISPR).
General Bajwa expressed these views during a visit to the Army Air Defense Center in Karachi to witness the commissioning of a Chinese-origin High to Medium Air Defense System, HQ-9/P, into the Pakistan Army Air Defense, the statement said.
The Pakistan Army’s (PA’s) Air Defense forces have inducted into service a variant of the Chinese-made HQ-9 surface-to-air missile (SAM) system, according to a 14 October press release issued by Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), the media wing of the Pakistani military.
Referred to in PA service as the HQ-9/P High-to-Medium Air Defense System (HIMADS), the weapon entered service in a ceremony held that same day at Army Air Defense Center Karachi that was also attended by Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
The HQ-9/P can operate as part of an integrated air and missile defense network, meaning that it will be used to “significantly enhance” the ‘Comprehensive Layered Integrated Air Defense (CLIAD)’ along Pakistan’s frontiers, noted the ISPR.
No information was provided about how many HQ-9/P sets have entered service and whether additional sets are on order. To lower the cost, Pakistan procured original HQ-9 variant designated as the HQ-9/P SAM instead of FD-2000 anti-air systems with better radar and command systems offered to Turkish Army. Pakistani HQ-9/P comes with a downgraded HT-233 PESA radar.
The HQ-9/P has an engagement range against cruise missiles and aircraft in excess of 100 km with a high “single shot kill probability”, according to ISPR. However, this range is actually thought to be only against aircraft, and the radar cross section required to achieve this range is unknown. Engagement ranges against cruise missiles and similar targets are thought to be much shorter, around 25 km.
According to the military’s media wing, the COAS highlighted the importance of air defense and said the induction of high-tech systems would make Pakistan’s air defense “impenetrable in the emerging threat scenario”.
It added that the system was also capable of intercepting multiple air targets including aircraft, cruise missiles and beyond visual range weapons at ranges over 100 kilometres with single shot kill probability.
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