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China unveils new surface-to-air missile defence system

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BEIJING (PTI): China has unveiled its latest surface-to-air missile system for the first time coinciding with President Xi Jinping's four-nation tour, including India.

The HongQi-10 missile system, which can mitigate the threat from low-altitude anti-ship missiles, was unveiled during a China Central Television (CCTV) report.

The missile was shown in news bulletin Wednesday being fired from ships and land-based mobile launchers.

As a naval point-defence missile system, HongQi-10 boasts of a particularly quick response to low-altitude missiles that area-defence systems fail to intercept.

It has a high success rate in intercepting them, Lan Yun, deputy chief editor of Modern Ships, told the state-run Global Times. The point-defence missile system defends a warship against rockets over a limited area.

It is in contrast to an area-defence system that targets medium- and long-range objects with slower response and lower success rate, the report said.

HongQi-10 can be prepared to launch missiles in about 10 seconds and aims at missiles only 1.5 to 10 meters above the sea level, Lan said.

The advanced missile system, equipped with both infrared and microwave seekers, can secure naval ships against anti-ship missiles outfitted with either infrared or microwave radiation, Lin Yuchen, a missile expert of China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp, told CCTV.

The dual seeker missiles can evade interference from jamming, since an infrared seeker is always combined with a radar seeker that often detects waves whose wavelengths are longer than microwaves, naval expert Li Jie said.

In addition to maritime defence, the low- to medium-level air defence system is also designed to protect ground forces from air attacks by jets, unmanned aerial vehicles and cruise missiles, said Lan.

Such small missile system can be widely deployed due to its agility, he said. The system was adopted by the Liaoning aircraft carrier and the type 056 corvette in 2011, Lan said.

The timing of the disclosure of the new missile system coincides with President Xi Jinping's maiden visit to South Asia after he took over as the President last year.

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