PLA Chinese army demonstrates capabilities of QW-12 portable air defense missile

As reported by Liu Xuanzun in Globa Times, the QW-12, an advanced portable air defense missile developed by China, recently demonstrated its outstanding performance in intercepting helicopters, jets and cruise missiles in a live-fire test.
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A portable QW-12 was tested against a target aircraft simulating an attack helicopter dropping eight flares at a target range in North China in early 2022. (Picture source: Screenshot from CCTV/China Central Television)

Held at a target range in North China recently, the test saw the QW-12 missile successfully shoot down a specially designed target aircraft built to simulate an attack helicopter by mimicking its infrared signal, China Central Television (CCTV) reported on February 12. As the QW-12 missile was approaching, the aircraft released eight decoy flares that resemble the infrared signal of the target aircraft in an attempt to disorient the missile. However, the missile ignored the flares and hit the aircraft, the CCTV footage shows. The process took only a few seconds. No other similar missile in the world has publicly demonstrated this capability, CCTV reported.

After examining the QW-12's capability to hit a slow target like a helicopter, the test challenged the missile to intercept a faster target, i.e. a 122mm rocket simulating a jet or a cruise missile that flies at 360 m/s, CCTV reported.

In the second test, the QW-12 again successfully intercepted its target by meeting it head-on, the report said, noting that because of its speed, a direct impact was difficult, so the missile used its laser proximity detonator to detonate itself near the target, bringing the target down with shockwaves and fragments. The test showed the QW-12's abilities under a complex battlefield environment.

While the QW-12 is a portable weapon, it can also be mounted on vehicles, which will give the missile very high mobility, Shi said, noting that each vehicle can carry several missiles, providing even more firepower.

The QW-2, a predecessor of the QW-12, was used by all participants in the air defense competition of the International Army Games. The QW-2 Vanguard 2 is a man-portable infrared homing guided surface-to-air missile. It is not clear when the missile first entered service, but it is likely to have been between 1998 and 2002. The QianWei 2 (or Vanguard 2, its export name) is the third-generation shoulder-launched, IR-homing, fire-and-forget surface-to-air missile developed by Shenyang-based CASIC 119 Factory (Shenyang Hangtian Xinle Ltd). The QW-2 was first revealed during the Farnborough 1998 Airshow. The missile and launcher of the QW-2 bear strong resemblance to those of the Russian 9K310 Igla-1, and the two missile systems are believed to be comparable in performance.

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Chinese QW-2 MANPADS Man-Portable Air Defense System showcased at Air Show China in November 2012 (Picture source: Army Recognition)