Chinese weapons shine at Mideast expo
Published: Feb 23, 2021 10:36 PM

Chinese UAV Wing Loong II is seen on the static display during the 52nd Paris Air Show at Le Bourget Airport near Paris, France June 20, 2017. Photo:Pascal Rossignol/CFP

China's arms industry has brought a broad selection of weapons and equipment to an ongoing major large-scale international arms expo in the Middle East, attracting wide interest, with analysts saying on Tuesday that Chinese arms have prospects in the defense market in the region despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Multiple Chinese arms firms joined the 15th International Defense Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, under the unified brand of "China Defense" on Sunday, China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Tuesday.

The HJ-12 portable anti-tank missile, SR-5 multiple launch rocket system, CM-501GA multipurpose tactical strike missile system, WS-43 loitering munitions system, L-15 advanced training jet, CH series drones and Wing Loong II armed reconnaissance drone are among key Chinese items at IDEX 2021, the report said, noting that they garnered wide interest.

These products are carefully selected to meet the demands of countries in the Middle East, Wei Dongxu, a Beijing-based military expert, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

For instance, the HJ-12 can launch precision attacks on tanks, fortifications and buildings with multiple types of guidance modes and strong anti-jamming capability, making it very competitive in the Mideast defense market; the SR-5 can launch different types of rockets, is automatic, accurate and easy to use; the CM-501GA missile is very accurate on both stationary and moving targets, making it a good choice for antiterrorism missions; and anti-aircraft equipment and armed reconnaissance drones are also popular in the region, Wei said.

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the scale of this year's edition of the biennial expo was reduced by one fourth compared with the previous edition, and Chinese arms companies exhibited models for the most part rather than real products, supported with video and audio displays, CCTV reported.

Despite the pandemic, Chinese arms products have prospects in the Mideast defense market, as many countries in the region still possess a sufficient defense budget and are willing to retire older weapons for new ones as soon as possible, Wei said. "Chinese arms will likely win more and more market share in the Middle East."

For years, many countries have been favoring Chinese arms products due to their affordability, high quality, good after-sales service and the lack of additionally attached political conditions, analysts said.

Another highlight of Chinese products is that they can integrate into systems and series, and many of them are designed with foresight, high adaptability to battlefield environments and good compatibility with users, to an extent they can lead the trend of the development of international military technologies, CCTV said.

IDEX 2021 is scheduled to be held from Sunday to Thursday, according to the event's website.

It is the first international defense exhibit since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, with more than 900 companies from 59 countries participating, and countries including China, the US, Russia, the UK and France are sending exhibition groups, China Aviation News reported on Tuesday.

More than 70,000 visitors and 110 official delegations from 80 countries are expected at the event, China Aviation News reported.