Recently, it was reported that Myanmar received the first batch of SY-400 (also called “DF-12A”) short-range ballistic missile system from China, thus becoming the second user of the SY-400 guided rocket artillery (or referred to as SY-400 Short-Range Ballistic Missile outside China).
It was reported that Qatar became the first user of SY-400 ballistic missiles, as in 2017, Qatar showed SY-400 ballistic missiles. However, Qatar chose BP12A tactical ballistic missiles instead of “guided rockets”. It is still unknown whether Myanmar is receiving guided rockets or BP12A tactical ballistic missiles.
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SY-400 is a new-generation ballistic missile system developed by China Aerospace Science and technology Corporation, mainly used for long-range precision fire strikes.
The SY-400 is a short-range precision-attack ballistic missile system fitted with GPS/INS guidance system. Missiles are factory-fitted into 8 containers and can be stored for years and do not require additional maintenance. Missiles are launched vertically and have a range of about 400 km. This weapon system is mounted on 8×8 high-mobility wheeled launcher vehicles boasting cross-country mobility and can go over all kinds of rough terrain according to reports.
According to Chinese military analyst Xiao Feizhu, the biggest feature of SY-400 ballistic missile system is the use of a vertical launch system, which is the first time in the history of the development of rocket launchers in the world. The biggest advantage of the vertical launch system compared with the traditional tilting directional device of a rocket launcher is that it can attack in all directions at any time, and there is no need to rotate the directional director like a traditional rocket launcher.
Therefore, there is no need to install height and direction machines, and the structure of the rocket launcher is simplified. Of course, the disadvantage is that the design of the rocket is relatively complicated, and it is necessary to increase the relay inertial navigation system and the thrust vector, so that the rocket can quickly turn to the predetermined target after the rocket is launched.
Myanmar’s armed forces have long showed a considerable interest in acquiring ballistic missiles, and are thought to field Hwasong-5 and Hwsaong-6 missiles from North Korea. These missiles represent enhanced variants of the Scud design with extended ranges and improved precision, but are no longer in production in North Korea with more advanced platforms having been developed since.
Missiles in Myanmar have reportedly been improved with Korean assistance, although they may be nearing the end of their service lives Yangon to turn to the more advanced Chinese platforms. Future purchases of more capable Korean platforms such as the KN-23 also remain a considerable possibly – with the new platform also benefiting from a solid fuel composite but carrying a larger warhead and able to strike targets at longer ranges and higher speeds than the SY-400.
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