Indonesia eyes Chinese 248mi-range YJ-12E anti-ship missiles

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According to Malaysian media, Indonesia is considering purchasing YJ-12E anti-ship missiles from China. The defense portal reported that Indonesia has shown interest in acquiring the YJ-12E missiles. 

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This news raises eyebrows, especially given that the YJ-12E is integral to naval defense, and Indonesia is currently locked in a maritime border dispute with China in the South China Sea. Yet, it’s plausible that this potential acquisition isn’t just a defensive move but could also have political underpinnings. 

The South China Morning Post weighed in on these revelations, citing Indonesian analysts. “China’s arms deal might not solely aim to upgrade Indonesia’s military prowess but could also represent a strategic political gesture,” the analysis from the South China Morning Post suggested.

Photo credit: Reddit

“This serves as a reassurance for China that Indonesia poses no threat,” he added. An Indonesian military expert compared this to Malaysia’s acquisition of four Keris patrol boats from China, highlighting that Malaysia’s actions are also intended to assure China of its non-confrontational stance. 

Moreover, reports suggest that Indonesia is interested in collaborating with China for the production of the YJ-12E missile. Previously, Indonesia has worked with Turkey to procure Atmaca anti-ship missiles. In fact, Indonesia is currently in talks with Turkey about jointly producing the Atmaca missile. 

Following Indonesia’s lead in acquiring the Atmaca from Turkey, Malaysia has also expressed interest. Malaysia is exploring a partnership with Turkish aerospace manufacturer Roketsan to produce Atmaca missiles.

Photo credit: Mil.huanqiu

STM General Manager Özger Gülerüz confirmed that Roketsan will be supplying Atmaca missiles to Malaysia, making it the second ASEAN nation, after Indonesia, to possess this hardware. 

The Atmaca is an advanced anti-ship missile with an impressive range of up to 200 kilometers. Indonesia is set to receive a delivery of 45 Atmaca missiles, enhancing the defensive capabilities of its naval forces. These missiles will be strategically deployed on the Fatahillah-class, Parhum-class, and KCR FPB 57 corvettes, bolstering their ability to counter enemy ships. 

While the Atmaca missiles will be stationed on warships, the YJ-12E is designed for shore-based military posts. Indonesian military experts highlight that the Atmaca and YJ-12E will serve as complementary assets in national defense. Interestingly, should Malaysia follow suit and procure the Atmaca, they might also opt for the YJ-12E, given the synergy between these missile systems. 

Photo credit: YouTube

The Chinese YJ-12E is an export variant of the YJ-12, a supersonic anti-ship missile developed by China. It is designed to engage large naval vessels, including aircraft carriers, and is known for its high speed and maneuverability, making it a formidable threat in maritime warfare.

The YJ-12E missile measures approximately 6.3 meters [20.7 feet] in length and has a diameter of about 0.76 meters [2.5 feet]. Its size allows it to carry a substantial warhead while maintaining a streamlined profile for high-speed travel. 

The propulsion system of the YJ-12E consists of a solid rocket booster for initial launch and a ramjet engine for sustained supersonic cruise. This combination enables the missile to achieve and maintain high speeds, enhancing its ability to evade interception. 

Technically, the YJ-12E boasts impressive characteristics, including a top speed of Mach 3 [three times the speed of sound] and the ability to perform evasive maneuvers during its terminal phase. These features make it difficult for enemy defenses to track and intercept the missile. 

The YJ-12E can be integrated with various launch platforms, including aircraft, surface ships, and possibly land-based launchers. This versatility allows it to be deployed in multiple scenarios, increasing its operational flexibility.

The missile is equipped with a high-explosive [HE] warhead, designed to inflict maximum damage upon impact. The warhead’s destructive capability is enhanced by the missile’s high speed, which increases the kinetic energy upon striking the target. 

Photo credit: X

The operational range of the YJ-12E is approximately 400 kilometers [about 248 miles]. This extended range allows it to engage targets from a significant distance, providing a strategic advantage by keeping launch platforms out of the immediate reach of enemy defenses.


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