BEIJING, -- Recent imagery suggests China has significantly enhanced its military capabilities in the South China Sea by deploying the land-based version of the 400 km-range YJ-62 anti-ship cruise missile (ASCM) to Woody Island in the Paracel Islands.
Posted on 20 March 2016 on the popular Weibo blog, the image of a launching YJ-62 ASCM is consistent with photos copied from one of the many monthly Chinese military magazines that appear on Chinese military issue web pages. The image of the launching ASCM also shows a radar dome that the Chinese blogger makes a strong case for being on Woody Island.
The China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC) YJ-62 was likely deployed at about the same time the HQ-9 surface-to-air missile (SAM) system was first detected on the island in February 2016.
A land-based version of the YJ-62 has been deployed by the Coastal Defence troops of the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) since about 2008. Three YJ-62 ASCMs are carried on a CASIC-Sanjiang transporter-erector-launcher (TEL).
First seen in model form in 2006 under its export designation C-602, the YJ-62 also arms the Type 052C destroyer launched in 2003. Chinese brochures credit the C-602 with a range of 280 km, while the version in service with the PLAN is estimated to have at least a 400 km range.
The anti-ship version of the YJ-62 is cued by long-range radar or data from aircraft or satellites, then uses an internal nose-mounted radar for terminal guidance.
At the 2012 Zhuhai Airshow CASIC introduced the 290 km-range CM-602G land-attack variant, which has a 480 kg warhead as opposed to the 300 kg warhead carried by the C-602.
The People's Liberation Army Navy Coastal Defense Force YJ-62 Long Range Anti Ship Cruise Missile (ACSM) coastal defence missile system.