Chinese Missile Surprises West

(c) K.B. Sherman, 2003

The Peoples Republic of China recently startled the West when a JH-7 (“Flying Panther”) aircraft (Xian Aircraft Industry Company) fired a YJ-83 anti-ship cruise missile over Bohai Bay, demonstrating twice the range of which the weapon had been believed capable. This weapon is widely believed to be part of Beijing's efforts to develop a long-range strike capability against the US Navy and the Republic of China Navy.

According to sinodefense.com, the YJ-83 flies within 15 feet of the water’s surface. It is equipped with a 365-pound warhead and a monopulse terminal guidance radar possessing high anti-jamming capabilities. It uses a semi-armor-piercing anti-personnel blast warhead, which relies on the missile's kinetic energy to pierce the deck of a ship, penetrate into and explode in the ship's interior.

Defense specialists say the YJ-83, sometimes called the C-803, also has the capability to receive target information in flight. Richard Fisher of the Jamestown Foundation was quoted as saying that the YJ-83 will probably be outfitted on the upgraded JH-7a fighter-bomber. A 155-mile range would put the launching aircraft outside of the range of Standard SM-2 missile that will be mounted aboard the ex-Kidd-class destroyers recently bought by Taiwan.