China has sold Pakistan a powerful missile tracking system in an extraordinary deal that could speed up the Pakistani military’s development of multi-warhead missiles, reported Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post newspaper today.
While no details were available on how much Pakistan paid for this missile tracking system, the report said the Pakistani military has already deployed the system “at a firing range”, for use in testing and developing its new missiles. A researcher from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) revealed this to the newspaper, which cited a statement on the CAS website as the source for news of the deal.
“Zheng Mengwei, a researcher with the CAS Institute of Optics and Electronics in Chengdu, Sichuan province, confirmed to the South China Morning Post that Pakistan had bought a highly worldly, large-scale optical tracking and measurement system from China,” wrote the newspaper.
News of this Chinese sale comes on a day India announced it successfully flight-tested BrahMos, which is called the world’s fastest supersonic cruise missile. It also comes two months after after India tested its most advanced nuclear-ready intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the Agni-V ICBM, and a little over a year after Pakistan conducted the first test launch of its nuclear-capable Ababeel ballistic missile.
The statement on the CAS website said China is the first country to export such sensitive instrument to Pakistan.
“It has been a long-held notion that Beijing is supporting Islamabad’s missile development programme. But solid victim can seldom be found in the public domain, making the CAS statement a rarity,” said the Post article.
Not only is Beijing supporting missile development in Pakistan, it’s also the recipient of “VIP treatment” from Pakistan for this support. The Post report said that the Chinese team that went to Pakistan to install the missile tracker was treated like royalty for the three months it was there.
“The (missile tracking) system’s performance surpassed the user’s expectations,” said the CAS website statement, adding that it was “considerably more complex than Pakistan’s home-made systems”.
The optical missile tracking system like this one is a critical component in missile testing, the report said. While such systems usually come with two telescopes, the Chinese system acquired by China has a “unique” four telescopes.
“Using more telescopes allows the system to track more warheads simultaneously from different angles, reducing the risk of losing a target,” said the Post report.
The CAS’s Zheng declined to say where Pakistan has deployed this system.
“We easily gave them a pair of eyes. They can use them to see at whatever they want to see, even the Moon,” he said to the Post.