QW-1 Vanguard

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QW-1 Vanguard
Place of origin China
Service history
In service 1990s to present
Production history
Produced Since mid-1990s
Weight 10.68 kg, 16.5 kgdg with launcher
Length 1.447 meter
Diameter 71 mm
Impact & Proximity

Engine rocket
Propellant solid rocket
5 km maximum
Flight ceiling 4 km
Flight altitude 30 meter minimum
Speed > 600 m/s
Infrared homing
A single person

The People's Republic of China-developed QW-1 Vanguard (Qian Wei in Chinese) is an all-aspect man-portable surface-to-air missile, from which a series of missiles were developed.


It was first publicly shown at the 1994 Farnborough Air Show as a successor to HN-5 series MANPADS.


The missile reportedly is the Chinese version of 9K310 (SA-16 Gimlet) Igla-1 missile systems incorporating some features of FIM-92 Stinger. According to many domestic Chinese media sources and some sources outside China, Chinese obtained the Soviet samples via Zaire from UNITA captured 9K310 (SA-16) Igla-1 missile from Angola governmental forces. The missile is operated by a two-man team. Once a target is visually detected the assistant selects the launch site and removes end caps from the front and back of the launcher. The gunner then partially depresses the trigger, which activates the electronic battery and opens the coolant bottle, cooling the seeker to operating temperature.

The gunner tracks the target visually, until the missile locks onto the target, indicating this with both a flashing light and an audio tone. The gunner then provides target lead and depresses the trigger all the way. This triggers the booster section of the missile, which projects the missile a safe distance away from the operator before the sustainer motor ignites.

The missile is guided by proportional navigation to the approximate impact point, before switching to a terminal guidance mode that attempts to steer the missile to the most vulnerable point of the target.


Length (missile and booster) 1.447 m
Launcher and missile weight 16.5 kg


Missile weight 10.68 kg
Diameter 71 mm
Propulsion Solid fuel booster and solid fuel sustainer rocket motor
Guidance Cooled InSb passive
infra-red homing seeker
Warhead HE fragmentation
(containing 0.55 kg HE)
with contact and graze fuzing
Average cruise speed 600 m/s
Max manoeuvring 16 g
Self destruction time 14 to 18 s
Slant range 500 m to 5,000 m
Altitude 30 m to 4,000 m
Weapon reaction time 3.5 s
Ready from the march 10 s
Battery life 50 s

Foreign Variant

  • Pakistan has produced a missile, the Anza Mk II, which is believed to incorporate components from the QW-1 Vanguard.

Iran has also developed its own version of the Vanguard, under the name Misagh-1 and its subsequent evolution, the Misagh-2, and is currently phasing out its supply of QWs. The exact nature of the home-grown modifications are unknown, but it has been claimed that the range and the top speed of the missiles have been improved to 5 km and 800 m/s respectively, in the Misagh-2.


QW-1M is a development of QW-1, and first revealed in Zhuhai Air Show. The missile is considered as a third generation MANPAD by Chinese, and many domestic Chinese media sources claim that it is the Chinese equivalent of Soviet SA-18 Grouse, which it strongly resembles. Like its predecessor QW-1, QW-1M also appeared to incorporate technologies of FIM-92 Stinger. Various western sources have postulated that China had likely obtained FIM-92 Stinger samples from either Afghan guerrilla or Pakistan, or even Iran, but such claims have yet to be confirmed. The missile is slightly heavier than QW-1, weighing at 18 kg for the entire system, and it is claimed to have better ECCM capability and better capability to engage low-flying aircraft in comparison to QW-1.


QW-1A is a derivative of QW-1M, with the adaptation of man-portable radar weighing 30 kg and a range of 15 km, and it is carried by the observer. The associating fire control system enables various QW-1A units to be linked up and thus increasing the effectiveness by forming an air defense network, which in turn, could be integrated into large air defense network. Although the entire QW-1A system including radar / fire control system could be carried by a crew of 2-men team, it is often mounted on vehicles.


QW-11 is a development of QW family that is specifically designed to engage terrain hugging cruise missiles, while retaining the capability of engaging low-flying aircraft. QW-11 was first revealed at Zhuhai Air Show in 2002. A new combined impact and proximity fuze is developed to provide better capability against cruise missiles.

  • Length: 1.477 m
  • Missile weight: 10.69 kg
  • System weight: 16.9 kg
  • Warhead: 1.42 kg
  • Range: 0.5 – 5000 m
  • Altitude: 30 m - 4 km
  • Reaction time: 10 sec


Improved version of QW-11 with enhanced ECCM capability was displayed at same Zhuai Air Show with QW-11 in 2002. The suffix G stands for Gaijin or Gailiang in Chinese, meaning improvement. The QW-11G system does not have dimensional changes physically so that QW-11 missile can be directly used for QW-11G.


QW-18 is the development of the QW-11G with an improved seeker. QW-18 first appeared in Zhuai Air Show with QW-11 and QW-11G in 2002. An enhanced dual band infrared seeker is developed so that the target is not only tracked via the exhaust heat, but also the temperature difference of the skin of the target. These improvements provided better capabilities against terrain-hugging cruise missiles at supersonic speed. Externally, QW-18 is identical to QW-11G / QW-11.


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QW-2 is a missile with all aspect attack capability and improved ECCM capability. There are two types of seeker for QW-2: the first is the dual band infrared passive seeker first revealed in 1998, and an imaging IR (ImIR) seeker has been designed sometimes later. The fuse is similar to that of QW-18. The minimum altitude is decreased to 10 m, thus further improving the capability against low-flying cruise missile and hovering helicopters that suddenly pop up from hiding.

  • Range: 0.5 – 6 km
  • Speed: > 600 m/s
  • Diameter: 72 mm
  • Length: 1.59 m
  • Warhead: 1.42 kg
  • Missile weight: 11.32 kg
  • System weight: 18 kg
  • Altitude: 10 m – 3.5 km

Foreign Variant:


Vehicle mounted version of QW-2 mounted on a 4 x 4 high mobility armored vehicle with three crew members: commander, driver and gunner. The fire control systems mainly consisted of radar and electro-optical system. Once the target is acquired by radar, it is passed to the electro-optical system for tracking and engagement. The onboard system allows the gunner to fire either a single missile or two missiles at a time, and there is a total of 8 missiles. Inside the vehicle, there are another additional 8 missiles for reload. The missiles of CQW-2 are interchangeable with that of MANPAD version, but they cannot be directly interchanged in the field. The prefix C standards for Che-zai in Chinese, meaning vehicle mounted.


This is the Chinese equivalent of French Mistral missile, with fuse developed from that of QW-2. The missile is unique among Chinese MANPAD in that this is the only surface-to-air missile that adopts the semi-active laser guidance similar to AGM-114 Hellfire. The gyro stabilized seeker provides very high degree of accuracy and is extremely effective against low altitude cruise missiles. The 15 degrees per second tracking rate of the seeker is relatively low in comparison for other MANPAD for supersonic targets in high g maneuver at very high altitudes, but this is by no means handicapping the performance because such targets are not intended to be for QW-3, which is specifically designed to engage terrain hugging helicopters and UAV’s and other fast flying targets at extremely low altitudes, including supersonic sea skimming cruise missiles.

The external look of the missile is similar to earlier QW missile with the exception of adding a booster with greater diameter than that of the missile. Due to the increased size and weight, the missile cannot be shoulder fired like other MANPAD, but must be fired from bipod or tripod like French Mistral missile and Swedish RBS 70.

  • Length: 2.1 m
  • Missile weight: 23 kg
  • Range: 0.8 – 8 km
  • Altitude: 4 m – 5 km
  • Speed: > 750 m/s


TB-1 is a missile derived from QW series, first revealed at the 8th Zhuhai Airshow held in the 4th Quarter of 2010 by its developer, China Aerospace Science & Industry Corporation (中国航天科工集团公司). TB-1 utilizes the airframe of QW-1/2 and the seeker of QW-3, and thus has the same diameter of QW-1/2 and the main stage of QW-3, around 70 millimeter.

TB-1 is designed to engage both aerial and ground targets by adopting a specially designed shaped charge armor-piercing blast-fragmentation warhead, so that it can successfully destroy armored vehicles and light tanks, in addition to aerial targets QW-1/2/3 could destroy. At its public debut, a twin launcher was shown.[1]


Naval version of QW-3 with launcher looks very similar to that of RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile externally. Although many Chinese media sources claim that it is the equivalent of RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile, with the total weight less than a ton (a single launcher containing missiles). When QW-3 missiles are used, the FLS-1 system actually lacks the fire-and-forget capability of the RAM. However, the FLS-1 system can also be used to deploy the infrared guided TY-90, and thus becoming a fire-and-forget capable SAM system like American RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile. The fire control system includes radar and electro-optics, that can be either dedicated or utilizing the existing systems on board the naval vessel. The FLS-1 system with QW-3 missiles has been retrofitted to fast attack craft of the PLAN, but FLS-1 system with TY-90 has not entered services (as of 2008) despite successfully completing acceptance tests and receiving state certification.

Although naval versions of other members of QW family have been successfully developed, they were not accepted into service with the exception of FLS-1. Instead, the Chinese deploy other QW missiles in the similar way United States Navy deploys FIM-92 Stinger missiles on board ships: sailors and marines on board ships were organized into MANPAD Gunnery Detachment to station on board ships, and fire the missile like the way the missiles are shoulder-fired on land.


The newest member of QW series with the fuze similar to that of QW-2, and a new thermal imaging seeker. The new fully electric control surfaces provide smoother flight path curves, thus greatly improved accuracy.

  • Range; 0.5 – 6 km
  • Speed: > Mach 2
  • Max altitude: 4 km
  • Min altitude: 4 metres above ground level, 2 metres above sea level


Vehicle mounted version for all QW series of missiles, development of CQW-2. In addition to QW series of missiles, other Chinese built MANPAD missiles such as HN-5 series and FN-6 series can also be used (though for QW-3, the launcher must be modified to accommodate the larger missile). The missiles are also mounted a high mobility 4 x 4 armored vehicle with same configuration, and the speed of the vehicle is greater than 85 km per hour and range is slightly greater than 600 km. The fire control system also works in the way similar to that of CQW-2, and the radar of FLV-1 has a range of 18+ km. The reaction of the entire system is less than 8 seconds. The missiles of FLV-1 can be directly removed from the vehicle mount and rapidly used by infantry in the field as shoulder fired missiles.

  • Vehicle speed: > 85 km / hour
  • Vehicle range: > 600 km
  • Radar range: > 18 km
  • Missile: Configuration of 2, 4, or 8 (usually 8)
  • Reload: 8 total
  • Reaction time: < 8 seconds


Development of FLV-1 with upgraded C4I system so that in addition to the missiles of FLV-1, up to half a dozen towed anti-aircraft artillery could also be controlled at the same time. Since the towed anti-aircraft artillery lacked fire control system and the FLV-1 system lacks any guns, the combined anti-aircraft artillery and air defense missile system overcomes the disadvantage for both and greatly improved the performance in comparison to separate individual system. The FLG-1 system can be integrated into larger air defense network.


FL-2000(V) (short for Flying Leopard 2000 Vehicle mounted) is the latest member which first made its public debut in China at the end of 2004 during the 5th Zhuhai Airshow. FL-2000(V) is a development of FLG-1 which utilizes modular design concept, enabling the system to incorporate a wide range of missiles and systems developed earlier. Laser designator is added the existing fire control system (FCS) so that the semi-active laser guided QW-3 can be directly used in the air defense system, instead of having to modify the earlier FCS first. Another significant improvement over FLG-1 is that FL-2000(V) incorporates the land-based version of FLS-1, and due to the modular design, the land-based version FLS-1 system is interchangeable with other land based system, and thus can be mounted on same chassis. FL-2000(V) system consists of 3 versions, FL-2000A, FL-2000B and FL-2000C. The A version is the basic model, with each vehicle has its own FCS, controlling missiles carried and AAA assigned. The B version incorporates a command vehicle so that several A versions and associating AAA can be integrated as a network to fight together. The C version incorporates TY-90 missile, further expanding capability.[2]


FLV-2 is the result of the merging of FLV and FL-2000 SAMs, and thus also designated as FL-2000(V2). FLV-2 is designed as a lightweight, low-cost SAM system that can be equipped in large numbers and also rapidly transported. In comparison to FLV-1, the original chassis of FLV-1 based on armored personal carrier is replaced by a truck chassis in FLV-2/FL-2000V2 to reduce cost, and the protection of the crew is offered by add-on armor.


FL-9 is another SAM system utilizing QW series MANPADS, and it is not to be confused with the Chinese anti-shipping missile also designated as FL-9, which is a derivative of TL-6. FL-9 SAM system is similar to FL-2000C in that both utilizes QW series MANPAD and TY-90. FL-9 is a highly automated system that the operation of engaging targets can be performed by a single person. The vehicle carries a total of six missiles, three on each side of the FCS arranged in the following way: one TY-90 atop of two QW-18. The FCS included TV, IR and laser. Another improved feature of FL-9 is that in addition to SAMs, surface-to-surface missile can also be deployed on the same platform.[3]


At the 7th Zhuhai Airshow held at the end of 2008, China National Precision Machinery Import and Export Corporation (CNPMIEC) revealed a new family of mobile SAM system based on QW-4. The new SAM systems in dubbed as TD-2000, which is based on the 4 x 4 ZFB05 armored vehicle manufactured by Shaanxi Baoji Special Vehicles Manufacturing Co. Ltd. A total of 8 QW-4 missiles are mounted atop of the vehicle in two groups of 4, with the electro-optical (optronic) fire control systems (FCS) in the middle. The optronic FCS is the OT-3, derived from OFC-3 optronic FCS used on Type 730 CIWS, and developed by the same manufacturer of OFC-3. The range of the optronic FCS is greater than 15 km, and the reaction time is less than 6 seconds, and it weighs around 110 kg. The reaction time of the missile is less than a second.

Missiles of TD-2000 can be fired simultaneously in pairs, either a pair or two pairs, against a single target, or simultaneously against two different targets, and all missiles can be reloaded within 7 minutes. TD-2000 can fire its missiles from traveling state in less than 5 to 10 minutes. TD-2000 features a built-in-test/diagnostic system which greatly improves its reliability and maintainability. Specifications:

  • Operating temperature: −40 to 50 °C
  • Mean time between failure: > 100 hours
  • Mean time between catastrophic failure: > 250 hours
  • Mean time to repair: < 0.5 hour


To increase the capability of TD-2000, China National Precision Machinery Import and Export Corporation (CNPMIEC) also revealed a development of TD-2000, dubbed as TD-2000B at the same Zhuhai Airshow, where TD-2000B was displayed as part of the subsystem of TD-2000B. The primary improvement over the original system is the extra C4ISR capability added so that in addition to control the QW-4 missiles of TD-2000, TD-2000B can also simultaneously control up to 6 anti-aircraft artillery pieces.

To provide the extra C4ISR capability needed, two more vehicles was added to the original TD-2000, both based on the same chassis of the original TD-2000, the 4 x 4 ZFB05 armored vehicle manufactured by Shaanxi Baoji Special Vehicles Manufacturing Co. Ltd. One ZFB05 carried a solid state passive phased array radar, which provides targeting information, when used in conjunction with the command vehicle, the second one added to the TD-2000B SAM system. The radar is capable of simultaneously provide fire control for 32 missiles against 16 targets (2 missiles against each target), and additional targeting information can be provided to up to 6 anti-aircraft artillery pieces. The reaction time of the radar is less than 10 seconds, and its range is greater than 40 km. Using the same chassis reduces logistic and operational cost, but the system can be mounted on other chassis upon customer's request. Although the anti-aircraft guns controlled by TD-2000B can be up to caliber of 100 mm, 57 mm or less is more usual. Like its predecessor TD-2000, TD-2000B can also be integrated into larger air-defense network via LIN-VK data link to further increase its effectiveness.

CNPMIEC has revealed at the 7th Zhuhai Airshow held at the end of 2008 that TD-2000B can also be armed with FN-16 MANPAD, which made its public debut at the same exhibition, but only the QW-4 armed the version of TD-2000B was shown to the public, and FN-16 armed TD-2000B had yet to enter service or meeting any export success. At the same airshow, CNPMIEC also revealed that in the early half of 2008, the first export customer, Indonesia had ordered TD-2000B for total of 35 million US$. The deal included two sets of QW-4 MANPAD armed TD-2000B, with an unspecified number of additional QW-4 missiles, and all after-sale supports, but without any anti-aircraft artillery pieces. However, the deal also includes the integration of some anti-aircraft artillery pieces currently in Indonesian inventory to the TD-2000B SAM systems purchased.

See also


  • Jane's Land Based Air Defence 2005-2006.
  • Jane's Defense Weekly