China on Friday unveiled the technical details of its recently tested supersonic cruise missile, HD-1, leading military experts to believe that it has the potential to compete with the BrahMos missile jointly developed by India and Russia.
Notably, Chinese mining company Guangdong Hongda Blasting revealed the details at the Airshow China 2018 in Zhuhai, South China’s Guangdong Province. According to the description the company released at the show, the missile uses a solid-propellant ramjet and can reach targets 290 kilometers away at a speed of Mach 2.2 to 3.5.
“Weighing 2,200 kilograms, the weapon can fly as high as 15 kilometers and as low as 5-10 meters when sea skimming,” the description said. The company claims it takes less than 5 minutes to prepare for a launch, and less than 10 seconds to launch a second one. It further claimed that the missile can accurately hit ground and sea targets.
The description also said, “The HD-1 can be launched from a land-based transport erection and launch vehicle (TEL). One TEL can be loaded with 6 missiles, which can be fired with a single push of a button.” “The vehicle adopts an 8×8 all-wheel chassis, making it very mobile and can withdraw within 3 minutes after launch, ensuring its strong battlefield survivability,” the description added.
Alongwith the basic version, the company also unveiled the HD-1A, an HD-1 variant that can be launched in the air by fighter jets and bombers and has similar capabilities. The HD-1 can also be launched from a ship, the report added.
According to the Beijing-based military analyst, Wei Dongxu, the flight speed and altitudes of HD-1 make it very difficult to intercept. “It could be an awesome aircraft carrier killer. A saturated attack by the HD-1 can even demolish an entire fleet,” Wei Dongxu said, adding that the HD-1’s capability has already surpassed early versions of the BrahMos.
On the other hand, the BrahMos missile can fly almost three times the speed of sound at Mach 2.8 and has a range of 290 km. The range of the BrahMos missile can be further extended up to 400 km.
The BrahMos is a medium range ramjet supersonic cruise missile and can be launched from the land, air and the sea. It is a joint venture between India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the Russian Federation’s NPO Mashinostroeyenia.
The word BrahMos is a portmanteau of rivers Brahmaputra of India and the Moskva of Russia. It boasts of a speed of Mach 2.8 to 3.0, making it the fastest anti-ship cruise missile in the world. Its speed is now being upgraded to Mach 5.0.
It was inducted into service in 2006 and is used by the Indian Army, Air Force and the Navy. It weighs between 2,500 kg and 3,000 kg, has a length of about 8.4 meters with a warhead of about 200-300 kg.