Satellite Guidance Improves Accuracy of China’s P12 Missile
By WENDELL MINNICK, ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates
Beijing-based China National Precision Machinery Import and Export Corp. (CPMIEC) has revealed new details of its P12 short-range tactical surface-to-surface missile at IDEX 2007.
Launched vertically from trucks, the solid-propellant P12 can carry a 450-kilogram cluster or high-explosive warhead up to 150 kilometers, company officials said. The missile has a circular error probable (CEP) of 80 to 120 meters on inertial guidance alone, 30 to 50 meters when incorporating satellite guidance, they said.
“The Chinese improved the guidance system of the SSM [surface-to-surface missile] with GPS or using the Russian GLOSNASS,” the Russian equivalent to the U.S. Global Positioning System, said Andrei Chang, founder of the Hong Kong-based Kanwa Defense Review. “The Chinese may also be using the GPS and GLOSNASS guidance technologies to improve the PLA version of short-range SSMs like DF-11 and DF-15 aimed at Taiwan.
“What this means is that Taiwan now faces precise ballistic missile threats,” Chang said.
CPMIEC representatives said the Chinese Army plans to field the P12 but could not say when.
The P12 prototype was displayed in October at the 6th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai, but no details were revealed.
Created in 1980 by parent company China Aerospace Corp. to develop missiles, CPMIEC is the prime contractor and marketer for China’s Dong Feng (East Wind) missiles, which include the DF-11 (M-11) and DF-15 (M-9). Roughly 800 to 900 DF-11s and DF-15s are aimed at Taiwan.
CPMIEC’s aggressive missile program includes a variety of missiles launched from trucks, including the WS-2 Multiple Guided Launch Rocket System with a range of 70 to 200 kilometers, the air-defense KS-1A missile that can hit targets up to 27,000 meters distant, and the surface-to-surface B611M missile with a range of 80 to 260 kilometers.
Chang said satellite guidance also gives the B-611M a CEP of less than 50 meters.
CPMIEC representatives said the Chinese Amy plans to field the B611M but could not say when.