Procurement: Legal Chinese Missiles In Iran

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November 4, 2011: A U.S. government study concluded that China has sold Iran $312 million in weapons in the last five years. Most of those weapons were C-801 and C-802 anti-ship missiles. The C-801 is 5.81 meters (18 feet) long, 360mm in diameter, has a max range of 42 kilometers and weighs 636 kg (1,400 pounds) each. The C-801 is similar to the French Exocet, and is believed to have been based on that missile.

The C802A is a 6.8m (21 foot) long, 360mm diameter, 682kg (1,500 pound) missile, with a 165kg (360 pound) warhead. The C802 has a max range of 120 kilometers, and moves along at about 250 meters a second. The French Exocet missile is the same size and performance, but costs twice as much (over a million dollars each, but the manufacturer is known to be flexible on pricing.)

The new Exocet MM Block 3 has twice the range (180 kilometers) because of their turbojet engine. The Exocet has been around for over three decades, has been proven in combat and is known to be reliable. The C802 is known to be less capable than the Exocet, but it looks similar.

Current weapons embargos on Iran do not cover such short range missiles. With these missiles, Iran can close the Persian Gulf to shipping. While warships can defend themselves against the Chinese missiles, tankers and cargo ships cannot.

 

 


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