China's new drone-capable air-to-surface AR-2 missile is designed to compete with the U.S.-built Hellfire missile, a munition often integrated with the MQ-9 Reaper. Pictured: An MQ-9 Reaper sits on the flight line at Creech Air Force Base, Nev. Photo by U.S. Senior Airman Christian Clausen/U.S. Air Force
Feb. 6 (UPI) -- China plans to sell its new drone-capable air-to-surface AR-2 missile to foreign customers, according to the country's state-run media.
The missile, developed by the China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics, was recently tested in live-fire exercises to verify its capabilities.
According to Chinese newspaper China Daily, the weapon can be integrated with a variety of military platforms including unmanned aerial vehicles and attack helicopters. Officials say the weapon is ideal for counterterrorism operation, and is a more effective alternative to solutions used by the United States and its allies.
"There are a lot of counterterrorism operations and low-intensity conflicts in the world that create a huge demand for low-cost, high-efficiency weapons to hit cars or light-duty, armored vehicles," project manager Zeng Like told the daily. "We believe that most ground targets designated for drones are soft targets or lightly armored vehicles, so using a heavier missile such as the AGM-114 Hellfire for such operations is a waste."
Zeng added the AR-2 is also cheaper than its competitors, which also includes the U.S.-made AGM-176 Griffin, currently the best-selling lightweight precision strike weapon.
Times of India reports the missile weighs roughly 44 pounds, and carries an 11-pound warhead. The weapon is designed to be integrated with China's CH series of drones, which have been sold to military customers in over 10 countries.