The C-801 missile was developed in response to the Navy's need for small-scale missiles. Said to be derived from the French Exocet, the C-801 bears little external resemblance to this missile apart from nearly identical length and diameter, and in fact the triple control surfaces are rather similar to those found on the American Harpoon [though the Harpoon is only about 80% the size of the C-801]. After 8 years of R&D, the C801 ship-to-ship missile passed final design tests in September 1985 directly hitting targets in all six test launches. The final design of this missile was approved in 1987. The C-801 missile is the second generation of antiship missiles developed by China.
The C-801 is carried on missile speedboats, submarines, escort boats, and destroyers, and is used to attack destroyers or escort boats. The Han-class attack submarines are armed with C-801 cruise missiles, as are the Song-class submarines. The Modified Romeo class submarines are armed with 6 YJ-1 (Ying Ji = Eagle Strike) C-801 SSMs. The PLAN's Luda-class destroyers are armed with a ballistic trajectory ASW weapon CY-1, and 8 YJ-1 missiles. The Luhu-class destroyers are also armed with 8 YJ-1 missiles.The terminal guidance radar with monopulse system possesses high anti-jamming capabilities. The high precision radio altimeter allows the missile to have minimum-altitude flight above the sea. It uses a semi-armor-piercing anti-personnel blast warhead which relies on the missile's kinetic energy to pierce the deck of a ship, penetrate into and explode in the ship's interior. During final design flight tests, one missile attacked and sank a target ship with displacement of 10,000 tons. This multipurpose missile can with modification be loaded on various ships, aircraft and motor vehicles. On the basis of the C801 ship-to-ship missile and in accordance with user demands, the product series with modified design includes:
- C801A general purpose antiship missile uses folded wings, semi-automatic testing, ballistic breakable container launching, and other new technologies to increase the number of missiles carried by ships.
- C802 shore-to-ship missile which employs a small turbojet engine in place of the original solid rocket engine, providing a three-fold increase in range to 120 km.
Iran may have imported as many as 100 C-801s and eight launchers in 1987-88, and by 1994 it was claimed that Iran had about 200 C-801 missiles as well as the ability to produce the C-801 indigenously [under the designation "Tondar"]. Other reports in 1996 suggest that China was assisting Iran with a new antiship cruise missile -- the "Karus" -- which believed to be based on the C-801 and/or C-802. In June 1997 Iran tested two Chinese-built C-801 air-launched cruise missiles from an F-4 fighter.
The submarine-launched "Yingji no 8, model 3" anti-submarine missile officially passed the first-phase system acceptance tests early in 1997. Taiwan sources claim that China made the Yingji no. 8 by modifying the French "Exocet" missile. The hit probability is expected to be higher than the missiles currently used by Chinese forces. The precise application of the YJ-8 designation remains somewhat obscure, as it is used with reference to both C-801 and C-802 missiles, and may be the overall designator for the weapon system that fires both types of missiles.
Contractor CHETA - China Hai Yang [Sea Eagle] Electro-Mechanical Technology - CASC 3rd Academy Entered Service Total length 5.81 m Diameter 0.36 m Wingspan 1.18 m Weight 625 kg (not including booster) Warhead Weight 165 kg HE Propulsion one solid rocket engine, one solid booster Maximum Speed Maximum effective range 8-42 km Guidance mode automatic control + homing Single-shot hit probability 75%