The Royal Thai Navy (RTN) has publicly unveiled its new mobile medium-range SAM – the FK-3 purchased from Jiangnan Space Industry, also known as Base 061, which is a part of the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC) – which actually entered service in September 2022. This surface-to-air missile system will form the backbone of air defence on Thailand’s east coast, covering Sattahip Naval Base, U-Tapao Airport, Laem Chabang deep-sea port, the Map Ta Phut industrial estate in Rayong Province and Pattaya.
The FK-3 is the export version of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) HQ-22 medium- to long-range semi-active radar homing/radio-command guidance air defence system developed and manufactured in China. The HQ-22 air defence system was developed as the second generation of the HQ-12 missile. The FK-3 has a range of up to 100 kilometres (62 mi) and can strike targets at altitudes from 50 metres (160 ft) to 27 kilometres (17 mi). The system’s missiles are guided by semi-active radar guidance and can engage ballistic and cruise missiles, aircraft, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles.
A typical FK-3 battery includes one radar vehicle and three transporter erector launchers equipped with four missiles each. Each battery can reportedly engage six aerial targets simultaneously. The surface-to-air missile system has been widely compared to the United States’ Patriot and Russia’s mobile long range S-300 surface-to-air missile system. Although it has a shorter range than S-300 variants such as the S-300PMU-2, it is thought to benefit from superior electronic countermeasures (ECM) and superior capabilities against stealth targets at shorter ranges.
At present, Myanmar, Thailand, Turkmenistan and Serbia have purchased and equipped with the FK-3. In August 2020, it was announced that Serbia had purchased the FK-3, it was the first time that any Chinese medium- or long-range air defence system had been exported to a European country. On 9 April 2022, multiple PLAAF Xi’an Y-20 transport aircraft landed in Belgrade to deliver the FK-3 to the Serbian Air Force and Air Defence. On 30 April 2022, the Serbian Ministry of Defence showed the first pictures of the FK-3 officially brought into service.