A visitor stands near a WS-63 rocket during the China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai, Guangdong province, Nov. 11, 2014. (Photo/CFP)
WS-64 is the world's first precision-guided anti-ship missile rocket launcher system, reports Duowei News, a US-based Chinese political news outlet.
The WS-64, which has been on display at recent military exhibitions around the world, is the latest addition to the Weishi or "Guardian" multiple rocket launcher systems developed by Sichuan Aerospace Industry Corporation, a subsidiary of the state-owned China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp, the country's main aerospace contractor.
The defining feature of the WS-64 is its ability to effectively strike different types of targets at high precision thanks to its composite inertial/GPS + broadband passive radar homing guidance technology. The WS-35 and WS-3, for example, can already hit stationary targets with a high degree of accuracy, but the WS-64's guidance system allows it to take down moving targets like warships.
This means the WS-64 is China's and potentially the world's first precision-guided anti-ship weapon system, Duowei said, adding that it will be particularly attractive to countries without advanced fighter jets or air-launched anti-ship weapons as it enables attacks on enemy vessels from long distances.
The WS-64, which needs to be paired with a heavy, high-mobility vehicle as a base, carries 300-millimeter rockets and has a range of 120 to 280 kilometers with a launch preparation time of only eight to nine minutes. The system is also said to have highly adaptable and simplified launch capabilities because it can launched both vertically or from a tilted angle.
Importantly, the system comes with an INS/GNSS navigation system that is compatible with China's Beidou Navigation Satellite System. The WS-64 claims a circular error probable (CEP) of less than 30 meters, and when in radar homing mode, the CEP is reduced even further to less than 10 m.
Duowei suggests that the WS-64 could form a key component of the naval defense system of a small or mid-sized country, claiming that its deterrent power is the next best thing to having a nuclear weapon.