Do Chinese ballistic missiles beat Iskander in the traditional market?

Chinese ballistic missiles are trusted by Algeria because of their low prices, which is a surprise because this North African country always buys Russian weapons.

The Chinese ballistic missile SY-400 is likely to be selected by the Algerian Army, Beijing has been promoting sales during the past time and its efforts are yielding encouraging results.

This is not the first time Algeria has looked to China for defense products. Although Algeria has been a long time customer of Russian weapons over the years, Beijing has been able to successfully sell its combat systems.

For example, this year alone, Algeria purchased from China five CH-5 reconnaissance and attack drones, as well as a 120 mm self-propelled mortar complex manufactured by the Asian country.

Back in 2020, Algeria purchased the Red Arrow-12 anti-tank missile system (also known as HJ-12) from China, which is a copy of the famous Javelin. In 2018, China sold this North African country 5 CH-3 and 5 CH-4 UAVs.

Analysts are therefore not surprised that Algeria has acquired ballistic missile systems from China. The SY-400 is the latest modified version developed from the Weishi missile, mass production started in the 1980s.

The SY-400 ballistic missile complex can carry two BP-12A rounds with a range of 400 km or 12 300 mm rockets used on the PHL-03 multiple-launch rocket launcher. This system was first introduced in 2018.

China identified this as a short-range precision missile system. It can be said that the SY-400 is a competitor to the famous Russian Iskander-M system, as a cheaper alternative.

The SY-400 is easy to maintain when not in use. Different from other similar ballistic missile systems, the missile tanks are mounted directly on the chassis and the projectile can stay there for many years.

Missiles BP-12A and PHL-03 can use different types of warheads depending on the purpose of use and the target to be destroyed. The SY-400 launcher fires missiles vertically.

Missile guidance technology in ballistic missile systems is GPS/INS. The projectile uses a low cruise speed to extend its range. Multiple projectiles can be directed at different targets. The missile has four control wings and stable fins, so the maneuverability is quite good.

The chassis carrying the ballistic missile system is Wanshan 8×8. According to the announced characteristics, this off-road truck allows easy operation in hard-to-reach areas with different terrain surfaces.

The fact that Algeria, a traditional customer of Russian weapons, chose China’s SY-400 short-range tactical ballistic missile system over the Iskander, perhaps for a reason other than price.

Western sanctions against Russia, especially the CAATSA Act applied by the US, make this North African country hesitate when it intends to continue buying the Iskander-E system.

Not only that, the fact that Russian banks were disconnected from the SWIFT international payment system also caused many contracts to come to a standstill because the parties could not fulfill their contractual obligations.

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