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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Saudi Arabia to Provide Chinese AA Missiles to Syrian Rebels

Source: Chinese Military Review

The Jerusalem Post reports:
According to Western and Arab diplomatic sources who spoke to the Journal, Riyadh intends to deliver advanced, Chinese-made shoulder-fired missiles that are capable of downing airplanes as well as Russian-manufactured 9M113 Konkur anti-tank missiles.
 This is probably not the first time, since there were reports from a year ago of Syrian rebels using Chinese FN-6 shoulder-fired air defense missiles to shoot down government helicopters. (See also here).

Of course, the Syrians probably hope this new batch works better than the last. From the New York Times (Aug. 12, 2013):
The successful attacks on Syria’s helicopters by Chinese missiles brought “publicity” that “will raise the image of Chinese defense products on the international arms trade market,” the newspaper wrote.

The praise proved premature.

As the missiles were put to wider use, rebels began to complain, saying that more often than not they failed to fire or to lock on targets. One rebel commander, Abu Bashar, who coordinates fighting in Aleppo and Idlib Provinces, called the missiles, which he said had gone to Turkey from Sudan and had been provided to rebels by a Qatari intelligence officer, a disappointment.

“Most of the FN-6s that we got didn’t work,” he said. He said two of them had exploded as they were fired, killing two rebels and wounding four others.

Detailed photos of one of the FN-6 missile tubes, provided by a Syrian with access to the weapons, showed that someone had taken steps to obscure its origin. Stenciled markings, the photos showed, had been covered with spray paint. Such markings typically include a missile’s serial number, lot number, manufacturer code and year of production.

Rebels said that before they were provided with the missiles, months ago, they had already been painted, either by the seller, shipper or middlemen, in a crude effort to make tracing the missiles more difficult.

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