China's deficiency in weapons systems undermines its operational capabilities, making buyer countries vulnerable

·2-min read
Representative Image
Representative Image

Hong Kong, August 27 (ANI): Serious questions about operational capability, durability, after-sales service and maintenance have plagued Chinese-made military hardware for years, making buyer countries vulnerable.

The serious deficiencies in China's weapons systems and other critical equipment have undermined its operational capabilities and threaten to make any ship a sitting duck against adversaries, reported The HK Post.

One of the much-touted Chinese-built maritime patrol ships bought by Pakistan and commissioned into Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA) in May 2017 has run into serious operational troubles, raising a big question mark about the ship's operational capability and Pakistan's over-reliance on Chinese-made military hardware.

The patrol vessel, named PMSS Dasht, one of the six patrol ships constructed by China State Shipbuilding Corporation, was hailed as a symbol of deepening Sino-Pak defence cooperation. Pakistan has reportedly invested over USD 150 million in the project, reported The HK Post.

PMSS Dasht, named after a river in Balochistan, is tasked to secure Pakistan's maritime zone, including the critical China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which culminates at Gwadar port in Balochistan.

The main weapon aboard the ship is a single-barrelled 30mm semi-automatic naval gun to protect the ship in a direct engagement with an adversary craft. But the gun in its present state was almost a dud as it had failed various tests during its harbour acceptance trials at Xijiang Shipyard, Liuzhou, China. The defects are yet to be rectified by the Chinese engineers.

Another critical component of a naval ship is its communication system. External and internal communication sub-systems incorporated in the vessel provide reliable communication between the vessel and shore command base, as well as with other ships.

PMSS Dasht is equipped with a 500W HF TX/RX (communication) set. The set was found defective a few months back. It has neither been repaired nor replaced, reported The HK Post.

Likewise, the fault alarm system onboard PMSS Dasht has been found defective. It often sends out 'general fault' and 'internal fault' alarms without any reason and then automatically resets, creating a serious operational problem for the ship.

Another fault is in the ship's engine. The ship is powered by four 16-cylinder MTU 16V 4000M73L heavy-duty, medium-speed diesel engines, each generating an output power of 2,880kW at 2,050rpm. But this main engine has been leaking fuel because of an improper fitting of cylinder no. 5 fuel line. Leaking fuel is a potential cause for a blast onboard the ship, especially during its operations on the waters.

PMSS Dasht is not the only Chinese-built vessel that has invited criticism from Pak Navy officials. PMSS Zhob, commissioned in August 2018, is riddled with a set of defects that are yet to be rectified by Chinese engineers, reported The HK Post. (ANI)

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