Airshow China 2014: CASIC unveils QW-19 MANPADS

13 November 2014

The QW-19, CASIC's newest entry into its MANPADS line, at Air Show China 2014. (Reuben F Johnson)

The China Aerospace Science Industrial Corporation (CASIC) is showing the newest in its line of man-portable air defence systems (MANPADS) at Air Show China 2014.

The QW-19 appears outwardly to be very similar to the previous QW-18 design but there are several differences.

"The QW-19 utilises a new digital seeker that is a departure from previous models," said a CASIC representative. "This digital technology gives the weapon a much higher jamming immunity compared to other models."

The CASIC official added that the QW-19 system is still in development and no date has been given for it to be made operational.

The missile's infrared (IR) seeker is also reportedly a new, dual-band, imaging seeker that provides for better performance in both target acquisition and lock-on. This advancement mirrors the type of improvements in design seen in a number of countries' air-to-air missiles.

This missile will supposedly be capable of head-on intercepts similar to those of the Russian KBM Igla-S, including the ability to take out cruise missiles. In addition to these performance enhancements, the missile has a consumable launch module that remains in the firing tube after the missile has ignited and is in flight. "This protects the soldier operating the missile better than in previous models" where this piece of hardware detached from the missile once it has left the launcher, the representative said.


MANPADS are becoming a popular element of very short range air defence (VSHORAD) systems in several nations, and Chinese industry is following this trend. The development of this MANPADS system, which is just a short step above the previous model, will create some significant improvements in the range and lethality of existing short-range and unit-level air defence systems simply by swapping out older missiles for this new one.
CASIC produces a number of different MANPADS models and the company maintains a dividing line between those systems that are designed for People's Liberation Army use and those for export. The QW-19 will be available for export in several markets, but it remains to be seen how soon customers operating the earlier model QW-18 will be ready to trade in their older units for this new design.

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