31 Oktober 2016
C-705 missile fired from KRI Clurit 641 (photo : Aktualita)
China battles fierce competition and quality issues in fight for weapons sales
Chinese arms manufacturers may find it even more challenging to make sales following the reported failure of Chinese-made C-705 anti-ship missiles to hit their targets during an Indonesian exercise in September that was watched by Indonesian President Joko Widodo.
IHS Jane’s reported that two C-705 missiles failed to hit their targets after being fired from two of the Indonesian navy’s KCR-40-class missile attack craft during the large-scale Armada Jaya 2016 exercise in the Java Sea on September 14.
Indonesia had acquired a licence that would allow state-owned aircraft maker PT Dirgantara Indonesia to produce C-705 missiles locally by 2017 or 2018, according to an earlier report in The Jakarta Post.
It is not clear whether the licence contract will be affected by the failed launch, but Chinese military experts said the poor performance of the C-705, a high-subsonic missile guided by the US Global Positioning System (GPS) or Russian Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS), might have an adverse short-term impact on international sales of Chinese-made weapons.
“It’s impossible to make sure all missiles can hit any targets accurately,” said military observer Zhou Chenming, who previously worked for a subsidiary of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, the main state-owned contractor for the country’s space programme, and is now a researcher at the Knowfar Institute for Strategic and Defence Studies, a non-government think tank in Jiangyin, Jiangsu province. “Normally, a manufacturer would note a general kill probability at 90 to 95 per cent during range tests.
“When a missile is fired, human factors play the key role during the intermediate operations to decide whether it will hit its designated target, including a series of reference data such as what altitude it needs to ascend to in the first stage and when it needs to turn.”
KRI Clurit 641 (photo : Jane's)
Zhou said the capabilities of the C-705 missile and the shorter-range C-701 and C-704 models had been proven in recent attacks by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen on United Arab Emirates vessels that were part of a Saudi Arabian-backed coalition supporting the Yemeni government.
Beijing-based naval expert Li Jie said local weather, and whether the Indonesian missiles operators had followed all the necessary procedures, would also affect the launch result.
“Weapons are made with various metals and other sensitive materials, so local weather like temperature, humidity, salinity may cause problems,” Li said, adding that the climate in China was very different from that in Indonesia.
See full article South China Morning Post