Weapons: China Takes Care Of Its Own


November 25, 2016: In late 2016 NORINCO (Northern Industries Company), China's largest arms manufacturer, introduced a 40mm auto-cannon using CTWS (Case Telescoped Weapon System) ammo. This innovative design was first introduced in the 1990s by the European firm (CTA) that developed it and is now supplying it for Britain and France. Case Telescoped ammo has the projectile inside a tube inside the cartridge case. Since the ammunition is cylindrical instead of cone-shaped high-speed mechanical loading is easier. It took CTA over a decade to get CTWS working properly. CTWS auto-cannon were initially designed to fit into the smaller turrets of scout and IFVs (Infantry Fighting Vehicles). The 40mm shells weigh 1.8 to 2.2 kg depending on type. The heavier ones are armor piercing while the lighter ones are high-explosive. Both can be fired at rates from 100 to 200 a minute. It is unclear how NORINCO obtained the CTWS technology but that matter.

NORINCO was founded in 1980 and is the major supplier of weapons to the Chinese armed forces and one of the largest arms exporters in in the world. By 2003 NORINCO had sales of $10 billion a year and now that is over $62 billion a year. Despite the dominance of NORINCO, there are hundreds of smaller arms and military/police equipment manufacturers who find lots of customers in China and abroad. But NORINCO, partly because of its size and mass production capability and partly because of its government connections, gets most of the big ticket or large volume business.

NORINCO has frequently been caught, and sanctioned for weapons and other military equipment to countries banned from receiving the stuff by international sanctions. These sanctions make it difficult to purchase high tech manufacturing equipment (and other essential goods) from the West. Despite that NORINCO still has a well-deserved of selling to anyone, anywhere who can pay and is not in trouble with the Chinese government. NORINCO also gets into trouble for using stolen technology but gets away with it because the firm is protected by the government.


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