Sunday 20 April 2008

chinesearms to sudan


China has shipped its latest-version FN-6 portable ground-to-air missiles to Sudan, video footage of that country's 2007 Independence Day military parade has revealed. These are the most advanced ground-to-air missiles China has introduced to the international market, and the footage is the first evidence that the missiles have actually been exported.

The FN-6, referred to internally by the People's Liberation Army as the HY-6, is equipped with an all-digital infrared seeker. It has a maximum range of 5 kilometers (just over 3 miles), maximum firing latitude of 4 kilometers (2.5 miles), and a response time of 10 seconds. The total weight of the system is 16 kilograms (35 pounds), its flight speed is 600 meters per second (1,342 miles per hour) and maximum maneuverability is 18G.

Recent high-resolution satellite photos also show that Sudan's Wadi Sayyidna Air Force Base is fielded with A-5S attackers and K-8 trainers made by China's Nanhang Aircraft Company. The new satellite images also show that there are two A-5S attackers, one F-7 fighter and one K-8 trainer fielded at the airport. Of course there would be other aircraft anchored inside the hangars, unrevealed by the photographs.

It can now be concluded that the mainstay combat aircraft of the Sudanese Air Force are from China. There has been speculation for quite some time that the Sudanese Air Force was armed with Chinese-made A-5S attackers, but this report has never been confirmed by the Sudanese government or the Chinese authorities. A careful analysis of these images confirms that China has indeed for the first time exported to Northern Africa its latest upgraded attacker.

The A-5S aircraft in Sudan have been coated with the latest camouflage paint, and a total of eight fighter aircraft hangars have been built at the Wadi Sayyidna Air Force Base. Each aircraft hangar can accommodate two to four fighters or attackers, and another eight helicopter hangars have also been constructed at the same airport.

In addition, the satellite photos show that at least nine F-7/MiG-21 and three F-6 fighters have been abandoned at the airport. Two MiG-29s were also found fielded at the same airport, but a source from the Russian military industry says that these fighters were delivered before 2003. Since 2003, the Russian government has prohibited the export of weapons to Sudan.

The A-5 has evolved from the Chinese-made MiG-19 fighter and has undergone new upgrades since 2005. The latest variant of the A-5 is called the A-5G.

It was in 2005 that China and Sudan reached a whole package of military cooperation agreements. These included the sales of at least two A-5 attackers and six K-8 trainers to the Sudanese Air Force, as well as the latest-version T-92 infantry fighting vehicles and T-96 main battle tanks to the Sudanese Army. The best combat units of China's PLA Army did not receive this equipment until after 2000.

The value of the whole 2005 military deal was US$80 million. In the same year, Sudan exported to China 6.6 million tons of crude oil.

The A-5's fuselage is about 25 percent longer than that of the MiG-19. The air intakes are moved from the nose section to the two sides of the fuselage, and the internal fuel tank is redesigned, with a 70 percent greater fuel capacity than that of the MiG-19.

The main equipment fitted on the A-5 includes two 23-millimeter guns, two PL-5 air-to-air missiles, and four 250-kilogram (550-pound) bombs. The attacker has a maximum speed of M1.2 (913 miles per hour) combat radius of 210 kilometers (130 miles) --1 kilometer Hi-Low-Hi -- and a maximum ammunition load of 2,000 kilograms (4,400 pounds).


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