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Pakistan acquires powerful missile tracking system from China

HONG KONG: In what considered to be an unprecedented deal, China has sold Pakistan a powerful tracking system that could speed up the Pakistani military’s development of multi-warhead missiles, South China Morning Post reported Thursday.

The report stated that the tracking system could allow Islamabad to speed up development of missile that can target multiple cities or military sites

The confirmation of this technology transfer was made in an announcement by the Chinese authorities 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.

Zheng Mengwei, a researcher with the CAS Institute of Optics and Electronics in Chengdu, Sichuan province, confirmed to 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 added.

It has been a long-held notion that Beijing is supporting Islamabad’s missile development programme. But solid evidence can seldom be found in the public domain, making the CAS statement a rarity.

A telescope unit forming part of the Chinese tracking system, deployed at Pakistan’s missile testing facility.

The Chinese team enjoyed VIP treatment during the nearly three months it spent in Pakistan assembling and calibrating the tracking system and training technical staff on how to use it, according to the statement.

“The system’s performance surpassed the user’s expectations,” it said, adding that it was considerably more complex than Pakistan’s home-made systems. It did not reveal how much Pakistan paid for the system.

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.

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