The command and weapons system of China's surface ships have reached international advanced levels, and more developing countries from Southeast Asia and Africa will buy Chinese vessels, a Chinese military expert said Friday after China started to build littoral mission ships for Malaysia.
China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC) started building four littoral mission ships on July 31 for the Royal Malaysian Navy, which will be used for maritime patrols, coastal security and search and rescue operations, CSIC announced on its WeChat account last month.
It is the first military equipment deal between China and Malaysia, and the CSIC will make it one of its quality projects to establish the image of Chinese-made military equipment, said CSIC vice president He Jiwu, according to the CSIC announcement.
"China has exported its surface ships with a displacement of less than 4,000 tons to the likes of Pakistan, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Egypt, as they are of good quality but relatively cheaper," Song Zhongping, a military expert, told the Global Times on Friday.
The ships China has sold including supply vessels, missile boats and multi-purpose littoral ships, and in the near future, China will sell its amphibious assault ships with a displacement of over 10,000 tons, Song said.
Malaysia is a major weapons importer, and China's decision to open up means more Chinese-made weapons will be sold to Southeast Asian countries, Song said.
A Chinese-made multi-purpose supply vessel, the largest in the Middle East and built by the Guangzhou Wenchong Shipyard, was unveiled in Egypt in June 2017. The 90-meter long, 4,744-ton vessel can provide navigation services and also work in Mediterranean Sea oil and gas fields, Xinhua News Agency reported in June 2017.