Having successfully procured nine HQ-16-based LY-80 medium-range (MR) surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems from China, Pakistan is now reportedly setting its focus on the FD-2000.
Quoting a Pakistan Ministry of Defence Production (MoDP) official, the Russian News Agency TASS reports that Pakistan is now studying the feasibility of procuring three or four FD-2000 long-range SAM systems to fulfill its long-range air defence requirements.
With a maximum engagement range of 125 km, the FD-2000 is an export variant of the HQ-9, which is the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) primary long-range SAM systems on land and at sea.
Reportedly, the FD-2000 has a maximum speed of Mach 4.2, a semi-active radar-homing (SARH) seeker and reaction time of 15 seconds. Its maximum engagement altitude is 27 km (i.e., 88,500+ ft).
Of the nine LY-80 systems on order, the Pakistan Army has reportedly taken delivery of them thus far. The LY-80 was formally inducted in March 2017 and, according to TASS, the delivered systems are operational.
Besides extending its air defence coverage, Pakistan is also reportedly improving its very short-range air defence (VSHORAD) capabilities. Citing a Pakistan Ministry of Defence official, TASS reports that Pakistan inducted 200 QW-18-man portable air defence (MANPAD) launchers from China and, in turn, is planning to manufacture the QW-18 domestically under license.
Notes & Comments:
Though there had been reports of Pakistan expressing interest in Russian long-range air defence systems, pursuing a Chinese system was the more natural outcome. Not only is China an assuredly willing supplier of such systems to Pakistan, but Pakistan also has experience operating integrated air defence systems of Chinese origin – i.e., the LY-80 and, in the future, the LY-80N via the Type 054A frigate.
The FD-2000 is analogous in its capabilities to the Russian S-300. Granted, the FD-2000 is a shorter-range system than the S-400, but it would represent a major step as Pakistan’s first long-range anti-air warfare system with a range of over 100 km. While comparatively less than the S-400, the FD-2000 would provide an additional air defence layer, especially against high-altitude threats.