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China fields new Type 95
SP Air-Defence System

Written by Christopher F Foss  -  Jane's Defense News

China has begun to market its recently-fielded Type 95 self-propelled anti-aircraft gun/surface-to-air missile system (SPAAG/SAM), writes Christopher F Foss. Originally known as the Type 90-II and Type 90-III, the new weapon began to enter service with the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) several years ago, and was finally revealed in public for the first time during the large military parade held in Beijing late in 1999.

It is now being promoted for export by China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO). This company handles exports for virtually all of the land weapons, including some types of tactical missile systems and almost all of the artillery rocket systems, currently manufactured in China.

Until the introduction of the Type 95 SPAAG/SAM, which has the industrial designation of the PGZ 95, the PLA relied only on larger-calibre SPAAGs, typically armed with twin 37mm (Type 62 and Type 88) or twin 57mm guns (Type 80) to protect its mechanized units.

These systems were based on tank chassis, and for a variety of reasons were considered to be ineffective as they had limited ranges. Most were essentially clear-weather systems only, although the Type 88 SPAAG did have a fire-control system installed. None of these systems are thought to have been produced in large numbers.

The Type 95 SPAAG/SAM consists of a new full-tracked armoured chassis on the roof of which has been installed a new one-person, power-operated turret armed with four 25mm cannons and four fire-and-forget SAMs. A bank of four electrically operated forward-firing smoke grenade launchers is mounted either side on the lower part of the turret for self-protection.

The gun and missile armament is mounted externally of the turret. A CLC-1 pulse-Doppler search radar mounted on top of the turret has a maximum range of 11km and is reported to be optimized to detect low-flying aircraft and attack helicopters. When the vehicle is travelling, the radar antenna can be folded down forwards to reduce the overall height of the system.

In many respects the Type 95 turret is very similar to that of the Italian Otobreda SIDAM 25 which is armed with four Oerlikon Contraves 25mm KBA cannon, each of which has a cyclic rate of fire of 600 rounds per minute. SIDAM 25 has been offered on tracked and wheeled vehicles, and has also been marketed in a version fitted with fire-and-forget SAMs.

A total of 280 cannon-armed systems were installed on a modified M113-series armoured personnel carrier chassis, and supplied to the Italian Army from 1989 onwards. At least one of these SIDAM 25 turrets went to China in the mid-1980s.

The 25mm cannon, which is already in service with the PLA in other applications, has a cyclic rate of fire of 600 to 800 rounds per minute per barrel. About 1,000 rounds of 25mm ammunition are carried, and the empty cartridge cases are ejected outside of the turret.

The fire-and-forget SAM is believed to be the China National Precision machinery and Export Corporation QW-2 which is very similar to the Russian Igla-1 (SA-16 'Gimlet'). This is claimed to have an effective altitude from 10 to 3,500m and slant ranges of 500 to 6,000m.

In a typical target engagement the fire-and-forget SAM would be used to engage targets at longer ranges, the 25mm cannon being used to engage aircraft and helicopters at ranges of up to 2,500m and an altitude of 2,000m. The 25mm cannon also have a secondary role against ground targets and would be able to destroy most light armoured fighting vehicles.

An electro-optic package mounted on the forward part of the turret includes a TV tracking camera, infrared tracking camera and a laser range-finder which feeds information to the onboard fire-control computer. This calculates the weapon-laying data, and when the target is within range the gunner opens fire. The gunner also has a joystick with which to lay the weapons onto the target.

The TV tracker has a maximum automatic tracking range of 6,000m while the infrared tracking camera has a maximum range of 5,000m. The laser range-finder is quoted as having a minimum range of 500m, maximum range of 5,500m and is accurate to +/- 5m.

System reaction time depends on a number of factors. According to NORINCO, in the radar search mode this is 10 seconds while in the optical mode it is about six seconds.

The complete SPAAG/SAM has a crew of three (commander, gunner and driver), a combat weight of 22.5 tones and a maximum operational range of 450km. The commander is seated to the immediate rear of the driver and is in overall command of the engagement, receiving target information from the battery command post.

The chassis is believed to be similar to that of the NORINCO 155 mm/45 calibre PLZ45 self-propelled artillery system which has also been in service with the PLA for several years and has been exported to Kuwait.

The Type 95 SPAAG/SAM is part of a complete mobile air-defence system that also includes a battery command post. Mounted on a similar chassis, this can typically be used to control up to six or eight SPAAG/SAM systems. In many respects this command post is similar in concept to the Russian 'Dog Ear' system mounted on the ACRV (Armoured Command and Reconnaissance Vehicle) chassis, and used to provide fire-control information to mobile air-defence systems such as the 2S6M SPAAG/SAM, Strela 10 (SA-13 'Gopher') and Tor (SA-15 'Gauntlet') SAM systems.

The battery command post vehicle for the Type 95 SPAAG/SAM has a raised superstructure at the rear hull to provide greater internal volume. Mounted on top of this is a CLC-2 surveillance radar with a maximum range of 45km and a maximum altitude of up to 4.5km. The CLC-1 and -2 radars were both developed by the China National Electronics Import and Export Corp-oration (CEIEC).

The CLC-2 search radar feeds information to the data processing system that in turn allocates target information to the individual SPAAG/SAM units. Communications equipment installed in the battery command vehicles allows it to transmit information in a digital form up to 5km, by standard radio up to 15km and by wire up to 500m.

The command post vehicle is also provided with a navigation system and an auxiliary power unit needed to power the additional electronics mounted in the vehicle. The commander is seated to the rear of the driver and mounted above his cupola is a manually operated 12.7mm heavy machine gun. A bank of four electrically operated smoke grenade launchers is mounted either side of the forward part of the raised superstructure.

A typical Type 95 battery would consist of six SPAAG/SAM, one battery command vehicle, three ammunition resupply vehicles, one battery testing vehicle and one power supply vehicle, all of which are mounted on the same 6x6 cross-country truck chassis. As with most of its more recent weapon systems, NORINCO can supply a complete inventory of supporting elements, including a training package embodying a simulator for the gunner.


Specifications SPAAG / SAM Battery Command Vehicle
Crew 3 5
Weight (combat) 22.5 tons 22.5 tons
Length 6.71m 6.8m
Width 3.2m 3.2m
Height (radar up) 4.82m 4.58m
Height (radar down) 3.40m 3.38m
Max road speed 53km/h 53km/h
Max cruising range 450km 450km
Armament 4x25mm 1x12.7mm MG

China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO) has now started marketing the Type 95 self-propelled anti-aircraft gun/surface-to-air missile system which is armed with four 25mm cannon and four fire-and-forget SAMs. (Source: NORINCO)

One of these battery command vehicles, based on an identical full-tracked armoured chassis, is used to provide target information to six Type 95 SPAAG/SAM. The radar is shown here in the operating position. (Source: NORINCO)

In many respects the Type 95 SPAAG/SAM is very similar in concept to the Italian Otobreda SIDAM 25 currently in service with the Italian Army. (Source: Otobreda)



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