The air defence systems on display at Airshow China in November showed a strong emphasis on deployable, multi-functional weapons with the export market firmly in mind.
Several new design approaches were in evidence as China’s range of mobile and man-portable air defence systems (MANPADS) continues to expand.
Alongside the existing QW-18 shoulder-launched missile, details were given of an improved QW-18A with new electric servo control actuators for improved guidance and flight characteristics plus a laser proximity fuze not found on the earlier QW-18. Data from manufacturer China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC) indicated that the QW-18A may have an imaging infra-red seeker, which it describes as “temperature-comparing discrimination”.
A new CASIC MANPADS weapon, the QW-19, was also shown. It had all the enhanced performance features attributed to the QW-18A, including a new grip design (SK-19) with a revised battery and cooling system. It is possible that the data for the QW-18A was released in error and actually refers to the missile designated QW-19.
A new variant of the QW-18 was fitted to the brand new FL-19 vehicle-mounted terminal air defence weapon system. The FL-19 has six single-shot missile tubes with an integral electro-optical (EO) target detection and tracking unit, all mounted on the rear section of an armoured light truck.