Saturday, September 27, 2008

Pakistan imports Chinese A-100 rocket launchers

A-100 is an excellent MRLS weapon, its export potential is great.
A previous entry on A-100 system:

Pakistan imports Chinese A-100 rocket launchers

Hong Kong, China: Pakistan is in the process of purchasing A-100 multi-rocket launch systems from China. According to a Pakistani military industry source, the contract was signed last year with the arms export company, China Precision Machinery Import-Export Corporation.

The initial procurement is a battalion-level system primarily for testing purposes. According to the needs of the Pakistani military, additional imports are also likely.

This is the first time for China to export the A-100 MLRS to a foreign country. South Asian military industry analysts believe that Pakistan’s procurement of the A-100 is in response to India’s acquisition of the Russian Smerch, or Tornado, MLRS. Both the Smerch and the A-100 are 300-mm calibre rocket launch systems.

In 2001, India signed a contract with Russia to purchase US$450 million worth of Smerch MLRS, which made their first appearance at India’s 2008 National Day military parade. A source from the Chinese military industry claims that the Smerch’s maximum range is 90 kilometers, while the A-100 can fire its latest submunitions as far as 120 kilometers. After being fitted with a simplified strike correction system, the A-100’s strike accuracy is increased to 33 percent.

The Pakistani military is considering a possible transfer of production site for the A-100 out of China. However, at the current stage, Pakistan will continue to import the system, according to the military industry source.

Some international analysts are of the opinion that the A-100 and the AR-2 300-mm MLRS produced by Chinese manufacturer Norinco are both imitation versions of the Russian Smerch MLRS. But the manufacturers of the A-100 and the AR-2 insist that these three types of MLRS are completely different. Neither the A-100 nor the AR-2 can fire Smerch rocket munitions, nor do they use the same propellant rocket motors or components.

In addition, China is now undertaking technological and structural upgrades of both the A-100 and AR-2 multi-rocket launch systems. These upgrades may include replacing their tube-shaped launchers with box-shaped launchers, as the former are much more expensive, cannot be quickly and easily reloaded and are more difficult to maintain. The similar AR-1 MLRS, which are fitted with box-shaped launchers, no longer require transloaders to load the rockets.

Andrei Chang is editor-in-chief of Kanwa Defense Review Monthly, registered in Toronto, Canada.

This article published in and posted here by Dr Edgar Alden

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