Thursday, February 24, 2005

Chinese Developments

The always informative World Guns site has been updated today with a new entry for a Chinese sniper rifle, the 5.8mmX42 calibre QBU-88. Built along similar lines to the QBZ-95 (aka Type 95), the new issue assault rifle for Chinese forces, the sniper rifle (or designated marksman rifle, as it seems poorly suited to a dedicated sniper role) is peculiar in that it's not only a semi-auto, it's also a bullpup design.

I have no info on the Chinese 5.8mm cartridge but the QBZ-95 assault rifle is also offered for export in 5.56 NATO so I'm assuming it to be fairly similar. Not exactly a step forward technologically but it's a development in line with NATO moving from 7.62 to 5.56 and the Russians to 5.54mm. Hardly a great selection for a sniper rifle either. Rumours are that the Type 95 assault rifle has not yet widely replaced the Kalashnikov-clone Type 81 rifle in 7.62mm outside of 'special forces' and that it has been having some technical problems. It's available as a standard size rifle, shorty carbine and also as a Squad Automatic Weapon.

I'm not too aware of Chinese weapon systems but I'm going to have to start doing a little research on the subject as the communist state represents a major threat to the Western way of life. One of the best places to get started is Chinese Defence Today, a site I discovered courtesy of MadOgre. Small arms are what I know best but by all accounts the Chinese are modernising their military fast, from attack submarines to AWACS. Front page news on Chinese Defence involves them buying UAVs from Israel. Correction, make that armed UAVs. Surely this is not a good move by Israel regarding their longest standing ally, the USA?

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