The original HongQi 7 (HQ-7) short-range air defense missile system has been developed in China in the 1980s. It was a copy of the French Crotale. In 1978-1979 China imported some of the Thomson-CSF Crotale systems for evaluation and reverse engineered them. First Chinese clone was produced for testing in 1983. Its production commenced in the late 1980s. Sometimes it is referred as Sino-Crotale. Its improved variant, the HQ-7A, was introduced in 1998.
The HQ-7B is the latest version, based on an indigenous 6×6 armored chassis. It was first revealed somewhere in 2009. This air defense system is widely used by the Chinese armed forces. It is also being proposed for export customers as the FM-90. This air defense system has been exported to Pakistan.
A TELAR vehicle carries four missiles and is fitted with engagement radar. It appears that engagement radar is similar to that of the previous HQ-7A.
The missile is 3 m long and weight 84.5 kg. It has a solid fuel rocket motor. It gives the missile a maximum speed of 900 m/s and a range of 15 km. It can engage helicopters, aircraft, cruise missiles, air-to-ground missiles and anti-radiation missiles at a range of up to 15 km. Minimum range of fire is 700 m. Maximum altitude is 6 000 m. Missile has a 15 kg High-Explosive Fragmentation (HE-FRAG) warhead with contact and proximity fuses. It is claimed that a hit probability with a single shot is more than 85%.
The TELAR vehicle is operated by a crew of three. Armor of this vehicle provides protection against small arms fire and artillery shell splinters. It has improved mobility over previous versions versions, based on 4×4 chassis. Hence it is more versatile, as the original French Crotale was developed as a point defense system. It not intended to follow infantry or mechanized units, so mobility for the French designers was not priority.
Acquisition radar is based on the same 6×6 armored chassis, as the launcher vehicle. It is more capable unit, than on the previous versions of the HQ-7. It is fitted with an S-band Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) antenna. It can detect up to 48 targets and track up to 24 targets simultaneously. Maximum detection range is 25 km. Maximum tracking range is 20 km.
It seems that a battery of HQ-7B consists of one vehicle with acquisition radar and three TELAR vehicles. Also each battery is supported by a maintenance group with 10 support vehicles.