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LIMA 2017: China reveals loitering attack weapon

21st March 2017 - 11:26 by Wendell Minnick in Langkawi

LIMA 2017: China reveals loitering attack weapon

China's new WS-43 loitering attack weapon system is ready for the international market, according to representatives of China Aerospace Long-March International (ALIT), at this year's LIMA 2017 exhibition in Malaysia.

The WS family represents ALIT's tactical ground attack weapon systems, including WS-63 and WS-64 models that were also on display.

The wheeled WS family's legacy began as a multiple-launch rocket system, then evolved as a guided system, before development of the WS-64 as a loitering rocket system with a data link finally came.

The loitering rocket looks more like a glider than a traditional rocket. It is described by ALIT as a 'new concept weapon ammunition'. The loitering rocket utilises a networked planning control system and data link system to 'achieve netting operation, online track planning and other armament coordinated operations'.

The main features of the system are its multifunction nature employing investigation, blockade and attack; quick reaction time; selective attack capability on mobile targets; and agile combat operations.

A WS-43 rocket battalion unit and its organisation is designed for independent combat. A battalion consists of one command-and-control vehicle, six container-type launching units, two data-related combat vehicles, three trans-loading vehicles, 96 rockets and 25 storage transport-launch canisters.

The WS-43 has an operational radius of 20-60km, an endurance of 30 minutes, a loiter speed of Mach 0.3, and a circular error probability of 10m using terminal homing guidance.

ALIT, a core subsidiary of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), is a state-owned enterprise that exports and imports weapon systems. As well as a wide range of weapons, the company appears active in joint research and development, co-production, transfer of technology, and logistics system setup.

ALIT also showed off its CH series of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), including two scale models of the armed CH-4 and the unarmed CH-91 short-range reconnaissance platform. The CH-4 is similar to the General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper.

ALIT also displayed its new LY-80N ship-to-air vertical-launch missile system outfitted on a scale model of the Type 054A frigate.

The medium-range LY-80N can intercept fighters and cruise missiles at altitudes of up to 15,000m and from a 4-40km range. The system has a claimed impressive single-shot kill probability of 0.83 for aircraft and 0.67 for anti-ship missiles.

The system can be installed on vessels with a displacement of 2000t and above.

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