China is trying to find buyers for the CM-401 state-of-the-art supersonic anti-ship ballistic missile, China.org reported.
The China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC) unveiled at the 6th – 11th November Airshow China 2018 defense exhibition in Zhuhai a road-mobile, anti-ship, close-range ballistic missile (CRBM) system featuring the CM-401 supersonic missile.
“The system is intended for rapid and precision strikes against medium-size ships, naval task forces, and offshore facilities,” a CASIС representative told Jane’s, further pointing out that it is fired from a transporter-erector-launcher (TEL) and can strike targets at a distance between 15 km to 290 km.
According to the manufacturer, the weapon uses a “near-space trajectory,” meaning it ascends to between 20 and 100 km above the ground and it maneuvers at hypersonic speeds during its flight.
“According to the CASIC, the missile flies at an average speed of 1,360 meters per second – 4,900 kilometers per hour [Mach 4] – or four times the speed of sound, during most parts of the flight, and reaches a maximum velocity of more than 2,000 m/s [Mach 6], six times the speed of sound as it approaches the target. It can carry a 290-kilogram warhead and has a maximum strike range of 290 km and a hit rate of 90 percent, meaning there will be nine effective hits on target out of 10 shots.”
According to the state-owned defense company the CM-401 has strong destructive power, good penetration capability and a mix of trajectories. It is also versatile in terms of the platforms it can be mounted on, be it a ship or a land-based launch vehicle.
China.org further reported that the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology recently offered its M20B anti-ship ballistic missile to the international market.
The road-mobile M20B similarly features hypersonic speeds and a maneuverable trajectory. It carries a larger warhead of 480 kg and can strike a ship 120 km to 280 km away. According to the academy it is ideal for rapid, precision attacks on frigates and destroyers.
China is currently the only country that fields anti-ship ballistic missiles.
“Its DF-21D and DF-26 are called “trump cards” in naval warfare by the Chinese military, but are not allowed for export because of a strike range said to be more than 1,000 km – far exceeding the restrictions on the export of missiles set by the Chinese government.”
The outlet also cited Wu Peixin, a defense industry observer in Beijing. According to him, the CM-401 can potentially become a “game changer in modern naval operations because it is very difficult for existing air-defense radars and weapons on ships to intercept such missiles due to their unique trajectories and hypersonic speeds.” These capabilities would be a strong deterrent for “enemy vessels, especially aircraft carriers, from approaching the coast.”