HD-1: When a driller starts a ramjet missile

Discussion in 'China' started by cyclops, Oct 19, 2018.

  1. cyclops

    cyclops Senior Member Senior Member

    Apr 24, 2016
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    HD-1: When a driller starts a ramjet missile


    The news is surprising to say the least - a Chinese company specializing in open-pit mining announced yesterday that it has successfully completed the first supersonic flight of its HD-1 missile.

    According to a short official statement from Guangdong HongDa Blasting Company Limited (广东 宏大 爆破) issued after the closure of the stock market in Shenzhen, the HD-1 weapon system, "developed and financed from own funds" by the company, has succeeded his first supersonic speed cruise flight from a flight test base in northern China.

    HongDa indicates that the HD-1 project uses powder ramjet engines, and this first test was primarily used to test its launch system, propulsion and flight controls. The data collected shows that the missile departure, the change of stages and the supersonic cruise flight all responded to the planned test program.

    The Chinese driller and blaster says the system is still in the experimental phase, and will continue to test the adaptability, stability and reliability of the product and its technologies. The company is also waiting for production and export approval (from the Chinese authorities) as well as signing the contract with its customers to begin mass production of the HD-1.

    The first question that arises now is, how can a company like Guangdong HongDa, which is unknown to the arms market so far and most of which is almost "on the other side of the wall," have come up so suddenly and accomplished such an achievement?

    From mining to arms production
    A quick look at the history of Guangdong HongDa Blasting makes it clear that this company founded in 1988 and actually working in the mining drilling sector is actually controlled by the Chinese state, and more particularly under the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) of Guangdong Province.The latter is a Chinese public agency in charge of supervising public enterprises, itself run by the State Council.

    In other words, HongDa is a public company, and a publicly traded company.

    The "Project HD-1" track and the HongDa name then lead us to a series of announcements dating back to the beginning of May this year, which however went unnoticed. For example, HD-1 is actually a project HongDa has entrusted to its Guangdong Ming Hua Machinery Co., Ltd. subsidiary. (广东 明 华 机械), formerly a military factory known as "Factory 806" code (国营 806 厂).

    The project also obtained the support of the local government of Guangdong Province as well as the agreement in principle of the State Administration for Science, Technology and Industry of National Defense (SASTIND), especially for the license to export the weapon. We understand that the HD-1 project, whatever it is, is primarily dedicated to export but not to the Chinese domestic market.

    At the end of May, the Chinese driller declares that the project has successfully completed the ground lighting tests of the three HD-1 thruster stages, namely the solid propellant booster, the booster without nozzle and the powder ramjet.

    A few months later, in August 2018, another announcement from HongDa indicates that the company plans to invest 1.328 billion yuan, or about 165 million euros at today's exchange rate, in the development of the system. HD-1. At the same time, we learn that HD-1 is in fact available in three versions and can be launched from a flying platform, a ship or a mobile vehicle on the ground, and that the project plays a key role in the "strategic transformation" of the project. positioning of the company.

    Barely a month after this second announcement and responding on an online platform to investor queries, HongDa reveals that the HD-1 project has already completed the main ground tests and final assembly was underway. It has also launched a preliminary study of the market and "the return is positive".

    In late September, according to a HongDa statement , the demand for construction of a final assembly plant for HD-1 was responded favorably by the National Commission for Development and Reform of Guangdong Province.

    Knowing now a little better the ads that have followed one after the other since the month of May until today, and in a relatively short interval, a second question naturally comes to mind - How a company like Guangdong Ming Hua Machinery, which certainly is based on the basis of a military factory producing explosives, can release a product as complex as a ramjet missile, and especially in such a short time - five months in total - between the appearance of the first announcement of the project and the success of the first flight of this missile?

    HD-1: Licensed production for NORINCO (?)
    Given the (very) short duration of the development cycle even assuming that the HD-1 project was launched in secret earlier, as well as the history of Ming Hua Machinery and especially the number of consistent means to design, manufacture and to properly test a ramjet missile, it is perfectly legitimate to ask whether HongDa, or Ming Hua, really has the capacity to develop such a weapon on its own, or it actually exists. other entities hidden in the shadows that helped Ming Hua to do most of the work?

    Given the evidence available to date, this second possibility seems to be more relevant to reality. But knowing the Chinese custom of communication, it seems unlikely that this possible collaboration between HongDa and the entity or entities behind is openly disclosed in the communiqués, especially when this HD-1 seems to be a flagship project in the field of Civil-military integration for the Guangdong local government.

    What can we rely on to continue to pull up the wire?

    Given the very short duration between the ground tests on the one hand and the inaugural flight of the HD-1 on the other, it is naturally brought to believe that Ming Hua Machinery had only handled the assembly of the missile, and this possibly from the plans or even components provided integrally by the mysterious actor in the background.

    And to make such a missile assembly, the drilling company should adapt or transform part of its premises for activities that were not his until now. Calls for tenders or consultations could therefore have been initiated to obtain external assistance.

    It is therefore following this new track that an environmental audit report entitled "the report on the environmental impacts of the experimental line construction of the project HD-1 Ming Hua Machinery" and written by an audit firm third in June this year, surfaced after further research. Quite unexpectedly, this 47-page report provided important details about the HD-1 project and even provided valuable clues to help us find the name of the true designer of this missile.

    Indeed, we learn from page 9 of the document that "HD-1" is actually a declassified code name of the project. The "experimental line" that is the subject of the environmental audit is located in one of the existing premises of Ming Hua, which is in the north of Guangdong province, and makes only a total of 397.5 m² in area.

    According to the document, the purpose of this line is to assemble and pre-test three HD-1s, which will be delivered to a "third party" for "detonation" (ie the actual test) and it will not be used for industrial production.

    We also learn that the transformation of premises and the installation of equipment cost a total of 12 million yuan, or about 1.5 million euros, and the building is built to meet the C2 hazard standards and able to withstand an explosion equivalent to 500 kg of TNT.

    The line, once in use, employs nine people each working 60 days a year and 8 hours a day. Each HD-1 requires about 20 days of work for assembly and testing, a total of 1,440 man-hours of work considering all of these nine staff are involved in assembly at the same time.

    There are of course other details about the facilities, the equipment and the processes used, but the elements read so far already confirm or almost the aspect of "licensed production" of Ming Hua Machinery in this HD project -1.




    Excerpts of the environmental audit report on the temporary assembly site of HD-1

    The audited site

    But if Ming Hua Machinery, and its parent company HongDa, plays only a role of integrator (or assembler) in history, who is then the true designer of HD-1?

    In fact, clues have been given in this same environmental audit report. For example, if the name of the large components appeared as code names such as "QC" and "YQC", it was written that they came directly from China Wuzhou Engineering Group (中国 五洲 工程 设计 集团), a subsidiary of 100% of the Chinese land-based giant NORINCO.

    On page 33 of this report, it is also pointed out that Ming Hua Machinery consulted in February 2018 another subsidiary of NORINCO, Safety Technology Research Institute of Ordnance Industry, for safety measures to be applied on the experimental production line in question .

    If the supplier of the main components of HD-1 and the safety instructions all come from NORINCO, or more specifically from its subsidiaries, it's a safe bet that the HD-1 would actually be a product designed by NORINCO, but not Ming Hua Machinery. The latter would have been solely responsible for the production and perhaps also the sale of the weapon system on the export market.This would be a typical example of what the civil-military integration strategy, pushed by the Chinese government in recent years, could do for local companies working in the civilian sector.

    But this puzzle game on the HD-1 project is far from over. NORINCO, despite its size and capabilities in the development of weapons, does not seem to have launched in the design of ramjet which is rather the favorite field of aerospace actors like the 4th academy of the group CASC or the 3rd academy of the group CASIC .

    Are there then other national arms companies involved in the project? What does this missile look like from a plane, ship or vehicle? What are his performances? Who will be the first export customers, since the negotiations seem to be in a fairly advanced state for HongDa to invest more than one billion yuan in the project?

    So many questions that we might find answers by November at the Guangdong Civil-Military Integration Fair, because HongDa has already announced that it intends to participate in the event with "his" HD-1.

    Meanwhile, this first flight test of the HD-1 to October 15, 2018 seems to have been confirmed by a message to aircrew. NOTAM A4378 / 18 signals the presence of a prohibited overflight zone at any altitude within a radius of 50 km around the right Banner of Alxa, a small town south of the Gobi Desert and not far from the Dingxing Air Base, which is one of the most important flight test bases of the Chinese army.

    However, the conditions under which the first HD-1 machine was tested are unknown.Was it launched from an airplane, in which case it means that NORINCO had to mobilize important means of follow-up with the Chinese army, or for its first flight the missile was simply launched from a platform on the ground just to check the proper functioning of its acceleration boosters? For that the question remains whole.

    A4378 / 18
    Q) ZLHW / QARLC / IV / NBO / E / 000/999 / 3907N10142E060
    A) ZLHW B) 1810150100 C) 1810150400
    1. V67: YABRAI VOR'YBL'-N3939. 5E10036.8.

    The overflight prohibited area that could match the HD-1 test on October 15, 2018 (Image: East Pendulum)

    Be that as it may, one can be virtually certain that the same type of test will still take place in the weeks or months to come, since at least three HD-1s have been assembled by Ming Hua Machinery. So there are two devices that are waiting to be used.

    We will certainly have the opportunity to come back to this subject very soon.


    This is what the missile which is supposedly "better" than the BrahMos, looks like.

    Supersonic missile passes test
    By Liu Xuanzun Source:Global Times Published: 2018/10/16 23:18:41

    Domestic ramjet outperforms global rivals: expert
    A South China mining company completed a successful supersonic missile flight test on Monday, prompting a Chinese military expert to suggest the system will face little competition on the international arms market.

    The test at a discreet location in North China verified the launch, power and flight control systems, according to a statement released on Monday by Guangdong Hongda Blasting Company.

    All parameters for the supersonic cruising flight of the HD-1 missile achieved their estimated values, the statement said.

    "The test flight shows that the HD-1's core components are now mature, with its aerodynamic design, materials and overall structure already proven viable," Wei Dongxu, a Beijing-based military analyst, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

    Hongda independently invested in and developed the HD-1, the statement said.

    The development of the HD-1 is an excellent example of military-civilian integration, Wei said.

    Established in 1988, Hongda is a mining company based in Guangzhou, capital of South China's Guangdong Province that also manufactures blasting and military equipment, according to the company website.

    The HD-1's advanced solid fuel ramjet needs less fuel than its competitors, rendering the lighter missile able to fly faster and farther, Wei said.

    After governmental approval, Hongda intends to sign deals and mass-produce the HD-1 for export.

    There are not many such supersonic missiles available on the international defense market, Wei said.

    Pakistan and Middle Eastern countries are likely to show interest given the weapon's potential to break anti-missile systems at supersonic speeds, he noted.

    The BrahMos missile is a more expensive, less useful supersonic cruise missile developed by India and Russia, Wei said.

    BrahMos can only be sold to "responsible" countries friendly with both India and Russia, a company spokesperson said at the Singapore Airshow in February, CNBC reported.

    Hongda will participate in Airshow China 2018 in Zhuhai, South China's Guangdong Province in November, a company spokesperson told the Global Times on Tuesday.

    The HD-1 is a comprehensive weapon system consisting of missile, launch, command and control, target indication and comprehensive support systems, Hongda said in a separate statement released in August.

    The HD-1 can be adapted to aircraft and ships as well as the basic ground-based vehicle version, the company said.

    The total investment in HD-1 is expected to top 1.3 billion yuan ($188 million).


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