Turkmenistan has been confirmed as a buyer for China’s QW-2 man-portable air-defense system (MANPADS).
On January 11, 2018, the dissident media outlet Chronicles of Turkmenistan released a video of Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov’s recent visit to a border post. During his visit, President Berdimuhamedov inspected the border station and examined a display of weapons.
One of the soldiers in the video could be seen holding a QW-2 MANPADS, revealing that Turkmenistan had purchased the surface-to-air missile system from China.
The QW-2 MANPADS has a range of six kilometers and a minimum targeting altitude of 10 meters, with a ceiling of around 3.5 kilometers. China began producing the system in the late 1990s and has exported it to several countries.
It is not known when Turkmenistan placed an order for the QW-2, though Ashgabat has contracted China in the past for missile systems. The country is known to operate the HQ-7, HQ-9, HQ-12 air-defense systems, which emerged in state TV footage in 2016.
President Berdimuhamedov has recently made several visits to border posts, an indicator of his government’s wariness of the situation across the border in Afghanistan. Taliban and Islamic State insurgents have battled Afghan government forces in several provinces adjacent to the border with Turkmenistan, and Ashgabat is worried about the potential for violence to spill over the border.