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Russia’s Allies In Libya Got Shelled By the Chinese Copy of Krasnopol Rounds, But the Supplier Is Unknown

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The Chinese GP1 guided missile, license copy of russian Krasnopol / Open source photo
The Chinese GP1 guided missile, license copy of russian Krasnopol / Open source photo

Perhaps this fact will allow to assess one of the directions of military assistance that China could provide to the Kremlin in the event of a political decision

The article by Armament Research Services (ARES) in 2017 reported that units loyal to the "Government of National Accord" in Libya used Chinese-made 155 mm guided GP1-A projectiles, which are basically an "adapted" copy of russia’s Krasnopol guided projectile. Similar shelling using the same rounds were carried out on the location of Haftar's troops in Benghazi in the fall of 2016.

Russia’s Allies In Libya Got Shelled By the Chinese Copy of Krasnopol Rounds, But It Is Not Known Who Is the Supplier, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war
Chinese military fires a DDE/PL66-152 guided projectile from the Type 66 howitzer / Credits: ARES

China actively uses the 152 mm version of such a projectile under the index DDE/PL66-152, the firing of such ammunition occurs quite often during the exercises of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), applying the Type 66 howitzers, which are a Chinese copy of the D-20.

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After all, it is not clear how one of the parties to the conflict in Libya was able to get Chinese guided artillery shells. The PRC itself did not officially supply this type of ammunition to Libya either before 2011 or after 2011. There was no confirmed data that would allow tracking the Chinese GP1-A to Libya at all.

Russia’s Allies In Libya Got Shelled By the Chinese Copy of Krasnopol Rounds, But It Is Not Known Who Is the Supplier, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war
The GP1-A remnants of Chinese guided missile "counterfeit" with russian markings found in Benghazi in 2016 / Credits: ARES

Moreover, when experts studied the guided projectiles found in Libya, at first they thought that they these were "original" russian Krasnopol projectiles, manufactured in 2014 at the facilities of KBP Instrument Design Bureau, since the false markings were confusing.

But what is interesting, at that time the Kremlin managed to fend off accusations of supplying its Krasnopol shells to the conflict zone in Libya. Russia then declared that the KPB didn’t manufacture Krasnopol in 2014, and the markings on the found ammunition were fake. Overall, they continue that russia does not use the marking of explosives "A-IX-II" on own artillery shells, instead it uses the marking "A-IX-2".

Russia’s Allies In Libya Got Shelled By the Chinese Copy of Krasnopol Rounds, But It Is Not Known Who Is the Supplier, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war
The Krasnopol guided missile / Illustrative photo from open sources

According to the abovementioned, ARES analysts concluded that in fact the forces of the Libyan "Government of National Accord" were actually using Chinese guided missiles GP1-A.

Russia’s Allies In Libya Got Shelled By the Chinese Copy of Krasnopol Rounds, But It Is Not Known Who Is the Supplier, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war
Chinese military uses laser designators to fire a DDE/PL66-152 guided projectile from the Type 66 howitzer / Open source photo

For Ukraine this story can be one of the hints how China could provide military assistance to russia in case a relevant political decision is made in Beijing.

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