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Uzbekistan adopts Chinese QW-18 MANPADS air defense system.

| 2019

The Uzbek Army (UA) has adopted the Chinese-made QW-18 man-portable air defense system (MANPADS), according to footage published on the official YouTube web page of the military service on November 27.

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Uzbek soldiers demonstrate Chinese-made QW-18 MANPADS  Man-Portable Air Defense System. (Picture source: print screen video footage Uzbek army)

The footage shows an Uzbek serviceman handling a QW-18 MANPADS. However, the UA did not detail the number of QW-18s introduced into service; therefore, it is not known whether the Uzbek military serially acquires this type of Chinese-made air defense systems.

The QW-18 MANPADS has been designed by the China National Precision Machinery Import & Export Corporation (CPMIEC) and is reported to be a modified copy of the Soviet-designed Igla-1 (NATO reporting name: SA-16 Gimlet) MANPADS. It weighs 18 kg in combat mode and is armed with a short-range surface-to-air missile (SAM) capable of engaging aerial targets flying at a speed of up to 300 m/s at an altitude of up to 4,000 m and at a distance of up to 5,000 m.

The Uzbek military is increasing its reliance on Chinese-made air defense assets. In early November, the armed forces conducted the first test-firing of their new Chinese FD-2000 air defense system (an export-oriented variant of the HQ-9 long-range SAM system). Uzbekistan is reported to be operating one FD-2000 battalion, which was probably delivered to the country in late 2018.

The Uzbek Ministry of Defense does not specify the type of MANPADS being operated by the country’s military. However, according to the open sources, the UA operates some 150 legacy 9K32 Strela-2 (SA-7 Grail) man-portable air defense weapons.

China is now trying to shore up its positions on the Central Asian air defense market. For instance, Turkmenistan’s ground forces are reported to be operating the Chinese-made QW-2 MANPADS.

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QW-2 MANPADS (Picture source: Army Recognition)

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