Before the normalization of relations between the USSR and the PRC at the very end of the 80s, military-technical cooperation between our countries was practically absent, and in China they were forced to modernize old Soviet missiles and copy Western models. This was facilitated by the rapprochement of the positions of the PRC and the "democratic Western countries" led by the United States, which decided to be friends against the Soviet Union. As a result, for a short period of time that ended after the suppression of demonstrations in Tiananmen Square, the Chinese gained access to some Western weapons and technologies. What could not be bought legally was often obtained by Chinese intelligence. It is worth noting that the PRC has never bothered with moral and ethical standards and issues of copyright or license compliance when reproducing weapons or their individual units.
The result of access to Western technologies was the adoption in the 80-90s of the PLA Air Force and Navy of a model range of missiles, which outwardly and in their characteristics were close to the French and American models.
In the second half of the 80s, the PRC began mass production of the YJ-8 (C-801) anti-ship missiles. Since 1987, the YJ-8 began to enter service with the modernized Chinese frigates, project 053H2. This missile in its appearance was strikingly different from the previous, more aircraft-like, Chinese anti-ship missiles, and with its weight, size and combat characteristics, the YJ-8 strongly resembled the French Exocet anti-ship missile system. The Chinese rocket also used a solid fuel engine. The launch range of the YJ-8 is a little over 40 km.
The creation and launch into serial production of the YJ-8 (C-801) anti-ship missiles was a great achievement of Chinese military science and industry. The missile entered service with the PLA Navy just nine years after the adoption of the French Exocet anti-ship missile system.
The aviation version, designed to arm the JH-7 and H-6 aircraft, was designated YJ-8K. A few years after entering service with anti-ship missiles, placed in above-deck launch containers, a folding-wing missile, the YJ-8Q, was tested and adopted, the launch of which could be carried out from torpedo tubes submerged in submarines. All YJ-8 missile modifications have an active pulse seeker. On the marching section of the trajectory, the rocket flight takes place at an altitude of 20-30 meters, when approaching the target, it drops to a height of 5-7 meters. The missile hits the attacked ship, striking at sea level.
Suspension of a KD-88 rocket on a JH-7 fighter-bomber
In addition to the variant with an active radar seeker, variants with a thermal, semi-active radar or television guidance system have been created on the basis of the YJ-8 to defeat various targets. The aviation version of the missile with a combined TV and IR seeker is known as the KD-88.
In the future, the design of the YJ-8 anti-ship missiles became the base for other more advanced Chinese missiles. The improved solid propellant YJ-81 can engage targets at ranges over 60 km.
Anti-ship missiles YJ-81 under the wing of the JH-7 fighter-bomber
However, a solid-fuel jet engine, with all its many advantages, is not capable of providing a long flight range. Therefore, the PRC created the YJ-82 (C-802) anti-ship missile system with a turbojet engine. At the same time, the mass of the rocket increased slightly, and the diameter of the body increased. The YJ-82 is launched using a detachable solid-propellant launch booster. The launch range of the YJ-82 has doubled compared to the YJ-81.
A more advanced control system is installed on the rocket. The flight altitude on the cruising section of the flight, depending on the state of the sea surface, is reduced to 10-20 meters. At a distance of several kilometers from the target, the height drops to 3-5 meters. In the immediate vicinity of the target, the missile performs a slide and strikes from a dive, aiming below the waterline.
An armor-piercing high-explosive warhead weighing 165 kg, the detonation of which occurs with a delay, is capable of inflicting heavy damage on a destroyer-class ship. In terms of its characteristics, the YJ-82 anti-ship missile is in many ways similar to the American RGM-84 Harpoon, but the Chinese missile appeared 17 years later.
An even more perfect model was the YJ-83 (C-803) anti-ship missile, first shown to the general public in 1999. The use of a more economical turbojet engine on this rocket made it possible to increase the launch range to 180 km, for the aviation version of the KD-88 this figure is 250 km. The weight of the missile warhead has been increased to 185 kg.
According to Chinese sources, an anti-jamming radar seeker with a wide scanning field was used on the YJ-83 anti-ship missile system, which is designed to increase resistance to active and passive interference and increase the probability of hitting the target. On the cruising section, along with the inertial system, satellite navigation is used, and the flight altitude is controlled by a laser altimeter. These same Chinese sources claim that shortly before hitting the target, the missile's speed increases to supersonic, but looking at the shape of the YJ-83 warhead, this raises reasonable doubts.
Launch of anti-ship missiles YJ-83
Missiles of the YJ-8 family have become widespread, in the PLA Navy they are armed with submarines, destroyers, frigates, missile boats, JH-7 and H-6 bombers, J-15 and J-10 and JF-17 fighters, as well as patrol aircraft Y-8J. The YJ-8 and YJ-82 anti-ship missiles were widely exported; they are available in the armed forces of Algeria, North Korea, Iran, Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand, Pakistan and Syria. Iran, with the help of Chinese specialists, has established its own production of YJ-82 anti-ship missiles, which were named "Nur".
Another anti-ship missile, the appearance of which was affected by the rapprochement with Western countries in the 80s, was the YJ-7 (S-701). This light anti-ship missile in many respects repeats the American AGM-65 Maverick aircraft missile, designed to destroy ground targets from tactical and carrier-based aircraft.
But unlike the American prototype, the Chinese missile, in addition to helicopters and aircraft, can be used from portable launchers mounted on light boats and automobile chassis. The first modification of the YJ-7 with IR TGS with a starting weight of 117 kg and a flight range of 25 km, carried a warhead weighing 29 kg. The flight speed of the rocket is 0.8M.
In 2008, at the 7th Zhuhai Air Show, the YJ-73 (C-703) was first demonstrated with a millimeter-wave radar seeker. It was followed by the YJ-74 (C-704) and YJ-75 (C-705) missiles with a television and radar seeker in the centimeter range. The launch range of these modifications increased to 35 km. The YJ-75KD anti-ship missile system is equipped with a miniature turbojet engine, which increased the flight range to 110 km. The missile course is adjusted until the target is captured by the guidance system based on signals from the satellite positioning system. In addition to fighting surface ships, the YJ-75KD can be used to engage ground targets.
YJ-7 missiles were delivered to Iran, from where they fell into the hands of Hezbollah fighters. During the 2006 Lebanese War, a Chinese-made YJ-7 missile attacked the Israeli Hanit corvette. The ship was damaged, but remained afloat, four crew members were killed.
In March 2011, Israeli warships, 200 miles off the coast of Israel, stopped the cargo ship Victoria for inspection, sailing under the Liberian flag from the Syrian port of Latakia to Egyptian Alexandria. During an inspection by Israeli special forces, a cargo of weapons and ammunition weighing about 50 tons was found on board, hidden under a cargo of cotton and lentils.
Missiles YJ-74 found on the vessel "Victoria"
Under escort, "Victoria" was sent to the Israeli port of Ashdot, where the smuggled cargo was unloaded. Among other things, during the search, six YJ-74 anti-ship missiles were found in transport and launch containers and two guidance systems. In addition to Iran, the YJ-7 series missiles were supplied to Bangladesh, Syria, Egypt and Indonesia.
In 2004, the PRC demonstrated a TL-6 rocket designed to arm small patrol boats and helicopters. Apparently, the prototype of this Chinese light anti-ship missile was the French AS.15TT Aerospatiale. A solid-propellant rocket with a launch range of 35 km, carries a 30 kg high-explosive armor-piercing warhead.
RCC TL-6 is equipped with an active radar seeker. According to the Chinese military, these relatively compact and inexpensive missiles are better suited for hitting ships with a displacement of up to 1,000 tons and countering amphibious operations in the coastal zone. The known version of the TL-10 with a television or IR seeker, this more compact, but structurally similar to the TL-6 missile is designed to combat boats. For coastal complexes, the FL-9 missile was created, which is considered as an inexpensive alternative to the YJ-82. It is known that in addition to the PLA Navy, there are missiles of this model range in Iran. In December 2008, the Iranian Navy successfully tested the Nasr-1 anti-ship missile system, which is believed to be based on the Chinese TL-6.
RCC 3M-80E ("Mosquito") in the PRC
In the 90-2000 years, several hundred anti-ship missiles 3M-80E (Mosquito), 3M54E1 (Club-S), Kh-31, also about two thousand Kh-29T were delivered to China from Russia. The launch range of the X-29T with a 317 kg warhead is about 10 km, and it is designed mainly to destroy fortified ground targets. But if necessary, this missile can also be used against naval targets such as tankers, landing or transport ships, which took place during the Iran-Iraq war.
Performance characteristics of modern Chinese anti-ship missiles
In the 90s, work was carried out in the PRC on supersonic anti-ship missiles with a ramjet and liquid-jet engine. But after the purchase of Russian-made missiles, most of this work was curtailed due to the lack of prospects. It is quite natural that Chinese specialists, having familiarized themselves with modern Russian missiles, superior in their characteristics to Chinese developments, took steps to copy them.
Soon after the delivery of Russian X-31 missiles to the PRC, the Chinese aviation anti-ship missile YJ-91 saw the light of day. The missile weighing about 600 kg is designed in two versions: anti-ship and anti-radar. These options differ from each other in the guidance system, launch range and warhead weight.
RCC YJ-91 under the wing of the JH-7A fighter-bomber
In terms of its characteristics, the YJ-91 is close to the Russian Kh-31 missile, but its launch range in the anti-ship version does not exceed 50 km. According to Chinese sources, the carriers of the YJ-91 are the most modern Chinese JH-7A fighter-bombers, J-15 and J-16 fighters. It is reported that work is underway to create a modification of the YJ-91 anti-ship missile system for submarines.
In 2015, photographs of a YJ-12 rocket suspended under an H-6D bomber appeared. Outwardly, this missile resembles the enlarged Russian Kh-31 aircraft missile. The length of the YJ-12 is approximately 7 meters, its diameter is 600 mm, and its weight is 2500 kg. There is no information about the YJ-12 guidance system, but, most likely, an active radar seeker was used on it.
According to the authors of the United States Naval War College Review, the YJ-12 missile is capable of hitting surface targets at a distance of more than 300 km. Moreover, it is equipped with a warhead weighing about 300 kg. It is believed that at a speed of about 2.5M, these missiles, in the event of mass use, will pose a mortal threat to American warships. It is assumed that in addition to the long-range H-6 bombers, it will become part of the armament of the J-15 and J-16 aircraft.
YJ-12 under the wing of an H-6D bomber
After the collapse of the USSR, Chinese specialists had the opportunity to get acquainted with many promising Soviet developments. Full-scale samples of X-55 strategic cruise missiles and a set of documentation were received through Ukraine. In the early 2000s, China received its own cruise missile for a similar purpose for testing. As noted in the English-language publications, not only the Soviet X-55, but also the American BGM-109 Tomahawk, the unexploded samples of which were exported by the PRC intelligence from Iraq, could have been the "source of inspiration" for Chinese designers.
The anti-ship version of the Chinese KR, first demonstrated in 2005, was designated YJ-62 (C-602). This rather large subsonic missile is designed to be placed on destroyers and wheeled chassis of coastal complexes, and long-range N-6 bombers also became their carriers. Deliveries of a truncated export version for coastal missile systems were carried out to Iran, North Korea and Pakistan. In the export version of the C-602, the launch range does not exceed 280 km.
Launch of the YJ-62C missile of the coastal complex
An article published in the Joint Forces Quarterly in September 2014 claims that the launch range of the upgraded YJ-62A missile has been increased to 400 km. The course correction on the cruising leg of the flight is carried out by an inertial autopilot and a satellite navigation system. The YJ-62 anti-ship missile system is equipped with a data transmission line and is capable of receiving target designation from reconnaissance aircraft in flight and, if necessary, can select and redistribute targets during salvo use.
An active radar seeker is used to aim the missile at the target. In order to increase noise immunity in conditions of electronic countermeasures, the seeker is able to quickly change the radiation frequency according to an arbitrary law. YJ-62 missiles can be equipped with various warheads (including nuclear ones). The most common option is a 300 kg penetrating warhead.
Perhaps the most modern anti-ship missile adopted by the Chinese fleet is the YJ-18. There is very little information about this rocket, as it has never been exhibited at international aerospace shows, and is not offered to foreign buyers. According to American naval analysts, when creating the YJ-18 anti-ship missile, the design and technical solutions of the Russian 3M-54 Klub missile were used and it is capable of ensuring the defeat of surface ships of all classes in conditions of intense fire resistance and in a difficult jamming environment. In addition to surface targets, this missile can hit ground-based radio contrast targets.
Mobile launcher of YJ-18 coastal missile system
The first version of the YJ-18 anti-ship missile system was tested for coastal missile systems. The missiles are housed in a twin launcher on a six-axle off-road vehicle chassis. It is assumed that the coastal complex will work in conjunction with a heavy UAV, which should provide reconnaissance and target designation.
Test launch of anti-ship missiles YJ-18
The YJ-18A anti-ship missile with a launch range of up to 500 km, carrying a 300 kg warhead, is the "main caliber" of the Chinese Aegis destroyers of project 52D. It is known that these missiles will also be armed with prospective warships, project 55. At present, the YJ-18V anti-ship missile system is being tested, designed to be launched from a submerged submarine.
Loading the YJ-18A anti-ship missile into the vertical launch unit of the pr. 52D destroyer
After launching and resetting the starting solid-propellant engine, the rocket goes into horizontal flight. The turbojet engine maintains a cruising speed of about 0.8M. Apparently, signals from satellite navigation systems or radio command control are used to correct the missile's course when firing at maximum range. At a distance of 40 km from the target, the engine switches to afterburner mode, and the rocket accelerates to a speed of 2.5-3M. Intercepting anti-ship missiles flying at a height of several meters above the water at supersonic speed is a very difficult task. According to the results of tests, the YJ-18 anti-ship missile system, according to Chinese experts, is "the best in its class." Apparently, the YJ-18 has been compared to other Chinese anti-ship missiles.
The Chinese anti-ship missile, which received the symbol CX-1 (Chaohun-1), was presented to the general public for the first time at the air show in Zhuhai from November 11 to 16, 2014. Apparently, now the process of testing the CX-1 anti-ship missile system, designed for coastal missile systems, is underway. A mobile unit on a cross-country chassis carries two missiles. In the future, the CX-1 may become part of the armament of large surface ships.
Layout anti-ship missiles CX-1
According to information provided by the Chinese television channel CCTV, a supersonic anti-ship missile that can reach speeds of more than 3600 km / h can be used to strike surface and ground targets at a distance of 40 to 280 km. However, it is possible that the maximum range is underreported, since these figures are below the limitations of the international Missile Technology Proliferation Control Regime (MTCR). A warhead weighing 260 kg, designed to destroy surface targets, can be armor-piercing high-explosive or high-explosive fragmentation to destroy ground targets.
Experts draw attention to the common features of the Chinese anti-ship missile CX-1, the Russian P-800 (Onyx) and the Russian-Indian Brahmos missile. It is known that Russia did not transfer materials and did not supply these missiles to the PRC. At the same time, supplies were made to Syria, Indonesia and Vietnam. " It is quite possible that one of these countries "shared" Russian missiles with China.
Currently, the PRC is developing a wide range of anti-ship missiles and a number of models that are at the design or testing stage are not described in this publication. It should be noted that the Chinese defense industry has a unique and very valuable ability to borrow all the best from foreign samples, taking into account its own production and technological capabilities. One can only guess what the Chinese designers will surprise us with in the near future, since the pace of creation and testing of Chinese anti-ship missiles is currently unprecedented and can only be compared with the pace of creation of the USSR's rocket and space technology in the 50-70s.
The increased technical reliability of Chinese missile technology as a whole deserves special mention. So, according to the experience of hostilities, the technical reliability coefficient of the Chinese liquid anti-ship missiles of the first generation did not exceed - 0.75. At the moment, on test firing conducted by foreign customers, this parameter has increased to - 0.9. It is clear that in a combat situation the reliability of equipment is less, but still progress in improving the reliability of Chinese missiles has made significant progress.
In the early 2000s, the CPC Central Committee embarked on a course of using only domestic materials, assemblies and components in complex defense products. Currently, most of the missile weapons are already using electronics and software of 100% Chinese production. This happened due to serious investments in fundamental scientific research and production and material base.
Today, the Chinese navy is one of the strongest in the world. A qualitative leap in the construction of warships, the creation of modern electronic systems and weapons has occurred in just 10 years. If in the 90s and early 2000s China ordered destroyers and diesel submarines in Russia, now our country only purchases point-to-point ship anti-aircraft systems, and then, for the most part, for the purpose of familiarization and possible copying.
The PLA Navy is currently in the stage of rapid growth and is still far from the qualitative and numerical strength planned by the Chinese leadership. In its current state, the Chinese ocean-going fleet is capable of challenging the Navy of any Asia-Pacific country and, on an equal footing, even without the use of DF-21D land-based anti-ship ballistic missiles, to resist the duty forces of the US 7th Fleet in the open ocean. In the very near future, the PLA Navy will be able to form a full-fledged aircraft carrier strike group for operations at a distance of several thousand nautical miles from its shores.
In order to obtain a qualitative superiority over its main enemy - the US Navy far from its shores, in the PRC, since the mid-90s, anti-ship missile systems, reconnaissance and target designation systems are being created at an accelerated pace. Judging by the samples shown at international aerospace shows, supplied to foreign customers and in service with its own fleet, China has achieved considerable success in this area.