Friday, November 4, 2011

Protector of Chinese Kingdom: Missile Technology

Over the past few years, Russian statesmen, politicians and pundits have plagued many tons of paper,uttered hundreds of thousands of words  about the deployment of U.S. missile defense system. Meanwhile, developments in BMD were active (and perhaps also under way), not only in the United States but in China, moreover it is not quite unproductive.

45years ago - February 23, 1966 the Government Commission on Defence Science, Technology and Industry of the PRC (Peoples Republic of China) adopted a step by step detailed program of a national missile defense, which was given the code name Project 640. Prone to conspiracy Chinese proceeded in this case of the so-called Directive 640 - governing the wishes expressed in a couple of years earlier by Mao Zedong in his conversation with Qian Syuesenem - the founder of the missile and space programs of China.


Moscow and Washington to catch up

China needed strategic arms by all means to catch up imperialists and revisionists in the field. By the time the Soviet Union were in full swing working on anti-missile system A-35, and in the United States already has adopted an trans-atmospheric intercept system Nike-Zeus and developed a new missile defense system Nike-X. Chinas territory, while seriously damage relations with Moscow, has got its sights not only on American but also of the Soviet nuclear-missile weapons, especially medium range ballistic missiles - R-5M, R-12 and R-14.

Dr. Qian and colleagues, subordinates enthusiastically set to work. Despite an emerging manic Cultural Revolution and the enormous resources devoted to the solution of Beijing primary task of the defense - the deployment of nuclear weapons, the Chinese missile program received high national priority. To it were attracted several ministries engineering license, Academy of Sciences of China, the Second Artillery (missile troops) and base 20 - missile test site, now better known as the Baikonur Shuanchentszy from which in 2003 was launched into orbit the first Chinese manned spacecraft .

Project 640 provided for a family of missiles KT (Counterattack), anti-gun Sinfyn (Pioneer), radars and early warning of missile attack. In addition, it was decided to accelerate the construction of ground test facility for missiles and begin to develop nuclear warheads for them.

The most active phase of the implementation of Project 640 has fallen to 70 years. During this period, work on it was conducted under the auspices of the Academy of missile and space defense - so it was renamed for the personal instruction of Premier Zhou Enlais Second Academy of the Seventh Ministry of Machine Building - an analogue of the Soviet Minsredmasha responsible for the rocket. Incidentally, the name Second Artillery for the missile troops of the Peoples Liberation Army also came up with Zhou Enlai.

Approach to the creation of Chinese missiles KT basically is consistent with the philosophy that is implemented in the U.S. missile defense system: Nike-X, as a trans-atmospheric missile intercept, long-range Spartan and the short-range missiles Sprint. As you know, Sprint was intended to neutralise nose cones of intercontinental ballistic missiles, which have been able to punch through outer space without being neutralized by  antimissile missile “Spartan”.

And it was not only about the fundamental design philosophy, but also on direct structural borrowing resorted  by Chinese engineers.. But it is well known that the Qiang Syuesen a talented specialist in the U.S, after he arrived in the homeland as distinguished scientists in 1955, having extensive contacts in the assets of aerospace science and industry of America. After his repatriation, these links could easily be exploited by China, although trade restrictions were there between Chinese Kingdom and the United States because of communist witch.

On the other hand, it is not excluded that  Chinese studied open western military-technical literature on antimissile systems, including popular systems Nike-X and its subsequent clones - The Sentinel and Safeguard discussed in detail, unlike that of USSR military literature which isn’t that open. Had China possessed Soviet literature they would have produced something similar to A-35 ABM system. Indeed Chinese copied Soviet ballistic missiles R-5m & R-12, because of Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev, who was ordered to transmit to them technical documentation on these projects.

Sprint in Chinese

However, you can assume anything, but the fact remains that the Chinese small-and medium-ballistic KT-1 outwardly turned almost double the American Sprint. As like Sprint, it was a two-stage hypersonic missile. It was equipped with semi-active radar homing.

True, in contrast to the completely solid, Sprint first stage KT-1 was a liquid rocket engine.Furthermore - and this differed China and the U.S. system - in the near abroad intercept (where the Americans intended to apply only Sprint missiles) in China an even low-altitude missile KT-2 was developed. And the analog of Spartan became trans-atmospheric intercept missile KT-3 .Chinese missiles as the U.S. were nuclear capable.

KT series anti-ballistic / anti satellite missiles is reportedly a series of highly classified and thus little known missiles based on DF-21. Designed to intercept ballistic missiles and satellites, KT series utilizes experience gained from earlier FJ ABM developed decades earlier. Four models of KT series have been developed so far, including KT-1, KT-2, KT-2A and KT-III:

  • KT-1: designed to engage sub-orbital targets.
  • KT-1A: upgraded KT-1
  • KT-409: upgraded solid-fuelled variant
  • SC-19: KT-1 variant
  • KT-2: designed to engage low earth orbit (LEO) targets at altitude up to 600 km.
  • KT-2A: designed to engage polar orbital targets.
  • KT-III: designed to engage targets at altitude 1000 km or higher.


It is believed that the Chinese have brought to the stage of flight testing only reduced models of rockets KT-2, launched in 1971-1972, and throwing missiles weight and size mock-ups KT-1, the first starts of which were held in 1979. KT-3 did not see  sky- its development was terminated in 1977. Creating KT-2 ended four years earlier - this elementary missile ultimately deemed unnecessary.

Command of PLA, inspired by the first flight of the experimental antimissile, without waiting for completion of the KT-3 , proposed to deploy a limited missile defense system based on KT-1 to cover Beijing.

With regard to anti-supergun Sinfyn, it is absurd miracle of Chinese engineering was born in the 210th Institute. The project is Pioneer (Project 640-2) was submitted to the military and political leadership of the PRC in 1967. The result was a monster, 420-mm barrel is designed for shooting uncontrolled active-reactive nuclear projectiles weighing 160 pounds towards entering the atmosphere by enemy warheads. A stationary gun mount weighed 155 tons.

Gone are even testing the Sinfyn. In the first of which took place on testing 140-mm smoothbore gun models. From it issued the 18-pound projectiles who beat to a range of 74 kilometers. With the Pioneers were busy until 1977, and in 1980 work on all the firepower of strategic missile defense system in the framework of Project 640 was finally discontinued. This decision was made by father of the Chinese economic reforms, Deng Xiaoping, considering that the program, the prospects for successful completion of which is not obvious, it is extremely burdensome for the state budget. Big enough role in this played the agreement about the limitation of antimissile systems, concluded in 1972 between the USSR and the USA, - in fact they tried to catch up with China.

Whatever it was, Project 640 was very useful for strengthening the defense capability of the PRC. Conducted in the framework of its work was the creation of the radar systems which allowed the Chinese to acquire land stations space tracking and early warning of missile attack, however, limited in its capabilities in comparison with similar stations in the USSR and the USA. These radars, in particular, the radar, 7010 and 110, which formed the basis of the national early warning system Celestial.

Wind in the orbit

Today, China is certainly in a position to create a classical surface missile systems (at least on a technological level of superpowers in 80s). A more promising case there seems is the mastering of anti-satellite technologies. In this area the level of scientific and technological capabilities of the PRC has been demonstrated in January 2007, when a weather satellite (Feng Yun-1) orbiting at 853 kilometers was destroyed by Chinese fighter. ASAT hit the meteorologist kinetic way - straight into a hit.

To launch an ASAT used a promising booster-type Kaytuochzhe (Explorer). This family of Chinese solid rockets, developed on the basis of the first and second stages of intercontinental ballistic missiles DF-31  and a new third stage, which was tested in 2001. These carriers are capable of delivering a payload of up to 300-400 pounds into polar orbit.

According to some reports, Kaytuochzhe can be started within 20 hours after receiving the order to start not only from a fixed launch pad, but with a self-propelled launcher. The missile, thrown into space the first Chinese satellite killer, was launched from Baikonur unspecified area near Xichang (the base 27) - presumably just a mobile TEL

Constantine Chuprin


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