China Arming Venezuelan Navy With Anti-Ship Missiles

 In China, Sea, Venezuela, Forces & Capabilities, U.S. Navy, P5

HI Sutton Image used with permission

Venezuela’s pro­pa­gan­da videos are show­ing off war­ships armed with new Chinese-made anti-ship mis­siles. The C‑802A mis­sile, sup­plied by Beijing to the Venezuelan Navy, is designed to take out sur­face ships at ranges of over 100 nau­ti­cal miles. The sea-skim­ming mis­sile is gen­er­al­ly anal­o­gous to the Harpoon. This arms deal should great­ly increase the reach and poten­cy of President Nicolás Maduro’s navy.

The acqui­si­tion was revealed on Sept. 25 by the Venezuelan Navy (for­mal­ly known as the Armada Bolivariana de Venezuela). Footage of one test firing is now being used in pro­pa­gan­da videos posted online, includ­ing by Maduro’s offi­cial Twitter account (in Spanish).

The video footage is not actu­al­ly of a Venezuelan Navy ship. It is taken from a Royal Thai Navy test launch of the C‑802A mis­sile. That launch, from the Thai Navy’s frigate HTMS Kraburi, can be viewed on YouTube.

But this does not mean that China has not sup­plied the system. Misleading images are part and parcel of Venezuelan Navy pro­pa­gan­da. For exam­ple, the same video shows a Venezuelan Type-209 sub­ma­rine, when in fact their boats have not been to sea in years. But the lack of images of it aboard a Venezuelan Navy ship does sug­gest that they have not yet equipped their own ships with the mis­sile.

According to open sources, the mis­siles are likely to equip Venezuela’s Guaiquerí-class patrol boats. These are Spanish built Avante 2200 com­bat­ants and were deliv­ered with­out anti-ship mis­siles. This makes sense because in June 2017 the Venezuelan Navy was taking steps to equip two unspec­i­fied off­shore patrol ves­sels with the mis­sile. The entry in the offi­cial gazette spec­i­fies the sum of $2,877,639.15 U.S. dol­lars. The Venezuelan Navy has three Guaiquerí class ships, so it is pos­si­ble that one will be left with­out mis­siles.

Meanwhile, Venezuela’s two remain­ing Italian built Lupo-class frigates are fitted for Otomat Mk 2 mis­siles, as are some mis­sile boats. The Lupos are the most capa­ble war­ships in the Venezuelan lineup, but are increas­ing­ly dated. The other modern war­ship, the Guaicamacuto-class patrol boats, are opti­mized for lit­toral oper­a­tions and do not have a mis­sile arma­ment. It was one of these ships, Naiguatá (GC-23), which was lost on March 23, 2020. She was attempt­ing to stop the ice-hard­ened cruise liner RCGS Resolute when the two ships col­lid­ed. The war­ship lost the encounter and sank. RCGS Resolute suf­fered some scratch­es.

Venezuela’s armed forces have been hit hard by the country’s eco­nom­ic woes, and by inter­na­tion­al sanc­tions. They have, how­ev­er, been able to source advanced weapons from Russia and now China. As well as the C‑802A anti-ship mis­siles, China has been sup­ply­ing small arms and gen­er­al equip­ment. This acqui­si­tion is a reminder that despite their eco­nom­ic and inter­nal chal­lenges, they are still focus­ing on weapons to take on exter­nal adver­saries.

USNI source|articles

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