China is winning the weapons supply as Russia’s war in Ukraine upends the global industry. A researcher group found Chinese-made man-portable missiles in the hands of regions and armed groups for years.
As reported by the War Room, a Small Arms Survey article published on June 13 said that the market share of Chinese-designed shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles, also known as man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS), has increased significantly. The Russia-Ukraine conflict had repercussions for the global defense industry; and countries like Japan and Germany who used to have a low budget on defense are rethinking their strategies.
Small Arms Survey, an independent group, has been tracking global arms market share for over 20 years. In particular, the illicit proliferation and transfer of Chinese designed MANPADS has been found in 32 countries and territories on five continents since 2011.
The data was said to be collected between 2011 and mid-2021 before Russia launched its all-out invasion of Ukraine.
These MANPADS, including FN-6 and SA-7 series, developed from the Soviet-designed era. The SA-7s latest descendants like the SA-14, SA-16, or SA-18 accounted for 81% of the findings identified by model. According to The War Zone, these designs have been obtained by non-state actors in Iraq, Lebanon, Myanmar, and Syria.
As The Conversation news put it, China could become a major weapon supplier and is likely to get the biggest gains from Russia’s invasion. Beijing might well take over the market share that Moscow used to dominate for years. Countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar already buy most of their weaponry from China.
The Chinese government gets most of their arms and vehicles from domestic manufacturers. If that area is developed, they could export more military products, considering China is considered the world’s largest shipbuilder already.
However, they still face a key challenge. China does not have the capacity to replace the U.S. or Europe because their price and quality of their military products is far superior to Chinese ones.
Currently, the report doesn’t cover the situation in Ukraine of China MANPADS, as it claims the problem is “too fluid to speculate.”