China test-fires missile in Xinjiang, brings down plane in drill: Report

Published on Aug 18, 2022 10:04 PM IST

Military observers said that from the footage, the weapons appeared to be HQ-17A air defence missiles, part of an integrated system that can fit in a single vehicle, and is regarded as very mobile and accurate

A projectile is launched from an unspecified location in China during long-range live-fire drills by the army of the Eastern Theater Command of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, on August 4, 2022. (AP)
A projectile is launched from an unspecified location in China during long-range live-fire drills by the army of the Eastern Theater Command of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, on August 4, 2022. (AP)

BEIJING: China’s People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) Xinjiang Military Command, which oversees the border with India, tested a surface-to-air missile in a high-altitude area of Xinjiang, bringing down a targeted aircraft, reports said.

China’s national broadcaster, CCTV, reported on August 15, India’s Independence Day, that the Xinjiang command conducted live-fire drills with a “new type of surface-to-air missile” at an altitude of more than 4,500 metres (14,760 feet), the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post (SCMP) said in a report.

“Military observers said that from the footage, the weapons appeared to be HQ-17A air defence missiles, part of an integrated system that can fit in a single vehicle, and is regarded as very mobile and accurate,” the SCMP report said.

Quoting an anonymous military observer, the SCMP report said the test was a show of deterrence in the “…countdown to the India-US drills near India’s disputed border with China”.

“The missile hit a target plane flying at a low altitude on its first attempt. Operators of the system took evasive action and hit a target in a second round of strikes despite strong electromagnetic interference from the aircraft,” the report added.

The missile drill comes in the backdrop of the dragging military tension between India and China in the eastern Ladakh region.

Thousands of troops are deployed on both sides of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) between India and China with several rounds of diplomatic and military talks failing to ensure complete disengagement of soldiers from friction points.

Yue Gang, a retired PLA colonel, told SCMP the drills involved a new type of HQ-17A short-range air defence missile, part of a system commissioned by the Xinjiang command in May last year.

The HQ-17A made its first public appearance in 2019, in the October 1 National Day military parade in Beijing.

“Yue said the HQ-17A could intercept various targets, including aircraft, air-to-ground missiles, and cruise missiles,” the report said.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Sutirtho Patranobis has been in Beijing since 2012, as Hindustan Times’ China correspondent. He was previously posted in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where he covered the final phase of the civil war and its aftermath. Patranobis covered several beats including health and national politics in Delhi before being posted abroad.

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