Naval Weapons

Images emerge of possible new Chinese anti-submarine missile

06 December 2016
Video footage from Chinese broadcaster CCTV posted on online forums shows what appears to be a new torpedo-carrying missile being test-fired from a land-based inclined container launcher. Source: CCTV

Video footage from Chinese broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) posted on Chinese online forums around 20 November shows what appears to be a new torpedo-carrying missile being test-fired from a land-based inclined containerised launcher: an indication that the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) is seeking to further enhance its anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capabilities.

Although the quality of the stills grabbed from the footage is limited, it is clear that the missile has an air intake beneath the body, indicating that an air-breathing turbojet/turbofan engine powers the missile once the solid-propellant booster used at launch is expended and jettisoned.

The images also show that the diameter of the missile increases slightly at a point approximately one third along its length. This is consistent with the forward section comprising a standard 324 mm lightweight torpedo mated to a concentric missile body of slightly larger diameter.

Assuming the weapon functions in a similar way to other ASW stand-off weapons, such as the US RUR-5A ASROC system, the missile will release the torpedo at a targeting point defined by data input to the missile.

The streamlined nose cone will then be jettisoned prior to or on entry of the torpedo into the water, exposing the transducers of the homing head, which will seek the submarine in either an active or passive search mode.

The targeting point will likely be determined by sonar, which may be operated by the ship launching the weapon or a third party such as another ship, helicopter, or maritime patrol aircraft.

No information has been made public about the torpedo being carried by the recently shown missile. The lightweight torpedo most frequently used by the PLAN is the Yu-7, which IHS Jane's Weapons: Naval assesses to be powered by a liquid Otto-fuelled internal combustion engine, giving it a potential speed in excess of 40 kt.

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