Last month, Pakistan Army (PA) formally inducted the Chinese built LY-80 Low to Medium Altitude Air Defense System (LOMADS). LY-80 is an export version of the Chinese HQ-16 surface-to-air missile (SAM) system, which is itself an analogue of the Russian medium range Buk SAM system that was used to shoot down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH-17 over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014 killing all 283 passengers. China herself inducted the missile HQ-16 in September 2011 and the People’s Liberation Army Ground Force (PLAGF) is a current user. The naval version of the missile is called the HHQ-16.
Image: The HQ-16
Out of a total order of six LY-80 batteries, worth $373 million, PA has now received and inducted three batteries for the defence of vitally important locations. Indeed, these batteries will be operating under the Pakistan Army Air Defense Command (PAADC) which is tasked with the air defence of Pakistani strategic assets. Presently commanded by Lt. Gen. Muhammad Zahid Latif Mirza, PAADC is headquartered at the Chaklala Army Cantonment in Rawalpindi, Punjab Province.
|Type||Surface-to-air defense missile system|
|Country users||China, Pakistan|
|Guidance system||Inertial guidance and intermittent illumination|
|Speed missile||Mach 3|
|Launch Weight||690 Kg|
|Warhead Missile||70 Kg|
|Altitude||15 m to 18Km|
|Dimensions||Length, 5,010 m;|
|Diameter 0,340 m|
As such, the LY-80 is capable of tracking and destroying a variety of aerial targets flying at low to medium altitudes. It can intercept an aircraft or a cruise missile flying at an altitude ranging from 15 meters to 18 km. Its maximum interception range for combat aircraft is 40 km, and between 3.5 km and 12 km for cruise missiles flying at an altitude of 50 meters and at a speed of 300 meters/second. The claimed single-shot kill probability for the LY-80 is 85 percent against combat aircraft and 60 percent against cruise missiles.
A LY-80 battery consists of four launcher vehicles (each with six missiles), a command post, two radar vehicles, missile transport and reloading vehicles and power supply vehicles.
Image: Typical HQ-16/LY-80 battery composition
The LY-80’s radar can detect enemy aircraft at a range of 140 km and at an altitude of 20 km. The radar can detect a maximum of up to 144 targets at a time and track up to 48 targets simultaneously.
As per official reports, China uses the HQ-16 to protect stationary assets such as airfields, command posts, troop concentrations and bridges. However, as we have noted above, Pakistan is likely to use its six LY-80 Batteries for the protection of its strategic assets.
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