Pakistan is a potential buyer of a new supersonic missile tested in China, which is said to be better than the similar BrahMos rocket system developed by India and Russia, the state media has reported.
According to the report, the Chinese HD-1 supersonic missile will face little competition in the international market.
Islamabad could opt for it because of the weapon system’s potential to penetrate “anti-missile” defence platforms, the report said.
Developed by the south China-based Guangdong Hongda Blasting Company, the “HD-1 is a comprehensive weapon system consisting of missile, launch, command and control, target indication and comprehensive support systems”, the tabloid Global Times quoted a company statement as saying.
The missile platform can be “…adapted to aircraft and ships as well as the basic ground-based vehicle version”.
It was tested earlier this week at a secret facility in northern China.
“The HD-1’s advanced solid fuel ramjet needs less fuel than its competitors, rendering the lighter missile able to fly faster and farther,” Wei Dongxu, a Beijing-based military analyst, was quoted in the report as saying.
The company intends to sign deals and mass-produce the HD-1 for export after government approval.
“Pakistan and Middle Eastern countries are likely to show interest given the weapon’s potential to break anti-missile systems at supersonic speeds,” Wei said.
“The BrahMos missile is a more expensive, less useful supersonic cruise missile developed by India and Russia,” Wei said.
Dubbed as a “carrier killer”, BrahMos is considered the fastest supersonic missile system in the world.
The report didn’t specify the range of the HD-1 missile; the Indo-Russian missile has a range of about 300 km.
India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited handed over the first Su-30 MKI fighter aircraft modified for the BrahMos missile to the Indian Air Force earlier this year.
The Indian Army and Indian Navy — for both ships and submarine — have already inducted the missile.
Several countries including Vietnam is said to be in talks to buy the BrahMos system, even as Beijing is locked in a maritime dispute in the South China Sea with Hanoi.
Neither Wei nor the GT report specified the parameters under which the BrahMos was “less useful” than the HD-1 to potential buyers of the two systems.
One reason — not military but strategic — could be that the BrahMos system as per policy is likely be sold only to allies.
At the Singapore Airshow this February, a BrahMos spokesperson told CNBC that discussions were underway “with a number of countries,” adding that the company would only sell to “responsible” nations friendly with both New Delhi and Moscow.
The GT article indicated that no such clause will be attached to the sale of the HD-1 missile system when it is ready.