Chinese Patriot SAM Mock-Up Causes Buzz Online

A photo showing what appears to be a United States-built Patriot air defense system somewhere in China has begun to make its rounds across the internet today, causing a whirlwind of speculation about its origin.

Simply put, it’s an inert mock-up meant for training purposes, also known as a VISMOD.

The Photo and Online Claims

The photo shows what looks like a Patriot system being towed on a flatbed truck.

The mandarin on part of the bed shows the word “Xuzhou,” suggesting that it is somewhere in the vicinity of Xuzhou, China, located south of Beijing.

The primary claim seen alongside the photo is speculation that it was somehow captured by Russian forces in Ukraine and given to China. If this was the case, the capture of a Patriot system by the Russians would likely make its rounds in state media before anything else, similarly to other captured western-supplied equipment. Another claim was that the system was sold by some corrupt Ukrainian official to China, which like the first claim, is baseless.

The Breakdown

Right off the bat, we can see that the word “INERT” is written on the side of the system, immediately indicating that this is not functional (as also seen in the example photo to the right). Chinese PLA forces, like many militaries globally, use detailed mock-ups of enemy systems for training purposes or target practice. The best example of this is mock-ups of American naval vessels seen in the Xinjiang region, which are used for target practice.


While many will ask “If it’s Chinese, why is ‘INERT’ written in English?” This is common globally, as seen above with inert Russian armaments at the 2018 Debut Eurasia Airshow.

Likewise, when compared to an actual Patriot system, the one seen in China is lacking many of the launch components and wiring since that level of detail is not needed in target mock-ups. VISMODs generally just need to “look” like the target they are simulating and are never an exact copy.


Simply put, this is a mock-up and nothing more. This is common amongst all military forces globally. China does it with American systems while the United States does the same with Chinese systems. VISMODs are key in helping military units identify adversarial capabilities during training and allow for more realistic engagements.

Unbiased & Unfiltered News Reporting for 12+ years. Covering Geo-Political conflicts, wartime events, and vital Breaking News from around the world. Editor-In-Chief of Atlas News.


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