Thursday, September 26, 2013

Chinese Firm wins Turkish Air Defense competition

In a surprise to many PLA followers, this news of China winning the Turkish Air Defense competition came out today. A lot of us had followed the competition, but thought Chinese and Russian bids were only sought out to bring down the price tag of Western companies. It turned out that an export version of HQ-9 has beaten out PAC-3, S-300PMU2 and Aster-30.

Clearly, this is a huge win for the Chinese military industrial complex. While this was not China's first export deal to Turkey (that would be WS-1B) or its first air defense export, Chinese firms have never won a major export deal like this in NATO countries. As shown in the dropping of price tag for $4 billion to $3 billion, the Chinese system obviously had a big advantage in price tag. Also, they are likely to be willing to share more technology and go for more local production than Raytheon and Lockmart. However, the lack of integration with NATO system along with general pressure from American government put both the Chinese and Russian bids at a disadvantage. What this result shows is that the Chinese system must have achieved at least comparable technical performance in the bidding process compared to its competition and probably won out due to cost + co-production.

On the other hand, one would think that S-300 would have similar advantages to Western systems. So, does this mean HQ-9 performed better than S-300PMU2 or was it more due to lower price? Either way, we do know that China has stopped purchase of S-300PMU2 while deploying new HQ-9 units. At the same time, there are also persistent rumours that China is looking to purchase S-400.

Going forward, I think we will only see Chinese firms doing better in international competition. SIPRI data from recent years have shown increased Chinese military export. Even if this deal does not go ahead, it really shows what PLA followers already know -> that Chinese military industrial complex is really catching up in many areas.


Meng-yuan said...

S-400 was originally named S-300PMU3. The "PMU" suffix indicates that it was meant for export.

Here, is an article with convincing photos from a prominent Shanghai news journal arguing that S-300PMU3 was developed on China's request with Chinese money. It subsequently entered PLA service by 2009. Only the Chinese habit of maintaining utmost secrecy on weapon acquisitions allows Russia to pretend otherwise.

willytan1 said...

It really depends on which version of the HQ-9 was offered to Turkey.
The latest HQ-9B version is actually a very advanced version which is better than the Pac-3 and the S-300PMU-2. The HQ-9B is almost comparable to the very effective ABM Israeli Arrow 2 missile. It has a dual mode seeker which gives it a very effective anti-ballistic missile capability. It uses semi active radar homing to tackle fighter jets and it uses a imaging infrared seeker to engage ballistic missiles at high altitudes. It can engage ballistic missiles at almost 50kms altitude with this infrared seeker which means it can take on short and medium range ballistic missiles.
A more advanced version the HQ-9C is under development which will uses a dual mode Active radar and IIR seeker and be the equivalent of the Arrow 2 missile. The HQ-26 which is the Chinese equivalent of the SM-3 will also be released soon. Yes, it is surprising but the Chinese have poured alot of money into ABM systems and the results show. The S-400 is actually a scaled up version of the S-300. It uses a huge missile with a 400km range and also a huge version of the Tombstone active phased array radar with a detection range of about 600km.

M.D. said...

Impressive. The first markets for Chinese army is clearly the South with Africa as well. I'd like to get in touch with the author for a research. How to get in touch with him?

Unknown said...

Meng-yuan, the article was mentioning Kanwa was probably BS-ing about the sales, and it was being confirmed for long time the latest batch of S-300PMU2 were using the S-400 tractors.