The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) unveiled a new lightweight and man-portable precision missile system at the 2016 China International Aviation Exhibition Center (Airshow China) in Zhuhai in early November.
Designated the Xiu Jian (Hidden Blade) lightweight multirole missile weapon system, it is designed primarily for use by dismounted troops and special forces to enable them to engage low flying aircraft such as helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), as well as soft-skinned land platforms and structures. The company also claims that the missile is effective against lightly armoured vehicles.
While development is still in its early stages and specifications are likely to evolve as work progresses, IHS Jane's understands from CASC that the Hidden Blade missile will measure approximately 690 mm long and 60 mm in diameter, with a launch weight of 4 kg.
The missile is carried and fired from a lightweight plastic polymer tube launcher equipped with a photoelectric sight, deploying four short chord flip-out rectangular wings at mid-body immediately after being launched to stabilise it in flight and employing its four flip-out tailfins to steer it to engage aerial and surface threats up to 2 km and 3 km away respectively, with a minimum engagement range of 150 m for both modes.
Guidance is provided by a photoelectric sensor, which is understood to employ a diffuse/proximity sensing technique, where transmitted radiation from the seeker's emitter must reflect off the target in order for detection and tracking to occur. However, while this method provides near immunity to background interference and jamming, the target must also be in clear view of the seeker's detection zone. As a result, it must be used against targets travelling in an environment with minimal background clutter.
"Like its namesake, the Hidden Blade is designed to provide troops with a means of defending themselves against mobile targets in a compact and lightweight package, while being easily concealed so that they can spring a surprise against unsuspecting targets," a CASC spokesperson told IHS Jane's , adding that the system was successfully test fired in early 2016 and ready for production as soon as a customer is found.
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