Surface Forces: The Maxi Maverick From China



March 29, 2011: The Israeli navy got a scare when they halted and searched a cargo ship off their coast on March 15th, and found some new Chinese missiles, designed to take out the kind of ships that comprise most of the Israeli navy (ships under 4,000 tons). The transport had been arranged by Iran, to take a cargo of weapons to Egypt, where the weapons would be smuggled into Gaza, for Iranian ally Hamas to use against Israel. The cargo included six Chinese C-704 anti-ship missiles.

The C-704 entered service five years ago, and the seized missiles were apparently Iranian built C-704s. This missile appears to be a half sized version of the U.S. Harpoon, but it is actually based on a Chinese copy of the 300 kg Maverick missile (the C-701), but made larger.  

China helped Iran set up a plant to assemble the C-704s in Iran, under license, as the Nasr 1. The C-704 is a 400 kg (880 pound) missile with a 130 kg (286 pound) warhead and a range of 35 kilometers. It has a radar guidance system to guide it to the target, assuming it has been fired to the general area where the target is. This is a cruise missile, moving at 800 kilometers an hour, at an altitude of 15-20 meters (46-61 feet). If Hamas is getting the C-704s, then Hezbollah and Syria probably have them as well.

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