Air-Launched Weapons

China’s CASC quietly rolls out AR-1B precision missile

13 November 2018

The new AR-1B seen mounted under the inboard hardpoint of the CH-5 armed reconnaissance UAV during Airshow China 2018. Source: IHS Markit/Kelvin Wong

China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) has completed the development of a new air-launched precision-guided munition (PGM) designed specifically for use by armed reconnaissance and combat unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), Jane's has learnt from company sources.

The new 80 kg-class PGM, designated AR-1B, is essentially a larger and more capable variant of the company's AR-1 anti-armour PGM. According to company specifications, the AR-1B features a maximum speed and range of Mach 1 and 10 km and is typically launched at altitudes between 500 m and 5,000 m (1,640 ft and16,404 ft) and can engage moving or stationary threats out to a range of 10 km.

The missile's semi-active laser (SAL) seeker is positioned in the nose section at a slight angle, off centre, with a stated off-boresight capability of ±25° and an accuracy of 1.5 m circular error probable (CEP) at maximum range. This arrangement provides a wider field-of-view for the SAL seeker - which offers lock-on before launch (LOBL) or lock-on after launch (LOAL) firing protocols - against targets immediately below or around the launch UAV platform, optimising its ability to provide close air support (CAS) fires.

"The key advantages that the AR-1B brings is its 43 kg warhead, which can be of the armour-piercing shaped charge or blast fragmentation type to defeat armoured vehicle or static targets, and hostile troop concentrations respectively," a CASC spokesperson told Jane's .

In contrast, the baseline AR-1 employs INS as well as SAL guidance to engage armoured targets or buildings up to 8 km away, although it has a less capable off-boresight capability of ±20°. The AR-1 is equipped with a 10 kg blast fragmentation or penetration warhead travelling at a maximum speed of Mach 1.1.

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