In what is said to be an unprecedented deal, China has sold Pakistan a powerful tracking system that could speed up its military’s development of multi-warhead missiles, the South China Morning Post reported on Thursday.
Chinese authorities confirmed the technology transfer on Wednesday. A statement on the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) website said China was the first country to export such sensitive equipment to Pakistan.
The CAS said a Chinese team spent three months in Pakistan helping calibrate the system. “The system’s performance surpassed the user’s expectations,” it said, adding that it was considerably more complex than Pakistan’s home-made systems.
Zheng Mengwei, a researcher with the CAS Institute of Optics and Electronics in Chengdu, Sichuan province, also told the Hong Kong-based newspaper that Pakistan had bought a highly sophisticated, large-scale optical tracking and measurement system from China.
The Pakistani military recently deployed the Chinese-made system “at a firing range” for use in testing and developing its new missiles, he said.
According to the newspaper, an optical system is a critical component in missile testing. It usually comes with a pair of high-performance telescopes equipped with a laser ranger, high-speed camera, infrared detector and a centralised computer system that automatically captures and follows moving targets.
The device records high-resolution images of a missile’s departure from its launcher, stage separation, tail flame and, after the missile re-enters atmosphere, the trajectory of the warheads it releases.
The uniqueness of the Chinese-made system lay in its use of four telescope units, “more than normally required”, Zheng told the newspaper.