|Type||Anti-ship & air-to-surface missiles|
|Place of origin||China|
|In service||early 1990s to present|
|Manufacturer||CHEMTA (China Sea Eagle Electromechanical Technology Academy), formerly the 3rd Design Academy of the Aerospace Ministry of China. Marketed by China Precision Machinery Import and Export Co. (CPMIEC)|
|Unit cost||US$ 0.78 million|
|Produced||Late 1980’s to present (export)|
|Weight||≈ 625 kg (excluding booster)|
|Length||≈ 5.81 meter|
|Diameter||≈ 360 mm|
|Warhead||165 kg high explosive|
|Impact / Proximity / Semi-armor piercing|
|Wingspan||≈ 1.18 meter|
|≈ 40 km|
|Flight ceiling||Max allowed by platform|
|Flight altitude||8 - 20 m|
|Speed||≈ Mach > 0.75+|
|ARH / PRH / TV / ImIR|
|Aerial, naval and land-based|
C-801 is a subsonic Chinese anti-ship missile (AShM) developed in the 1980s, receiving NATO reporting name CSS-N-4 Sardine. Designated as YJ-8 (YJ is the abbreviation of Yingji, or 鹰击 in Chinese, meaning Eagle Strike), this originally surface platform based missile would become the foundation based on which several other missiles developed, such as YJ-1, the submarine-launched version, and YJ-81, the air-launched version. More advanced missiles such as C-802 and C-803, as well as land strike and anti-radiation versions were also subsequently developed.
C-801 is a huge diversion from earlier Chinese anti-ship missiles such as HY/SY/FL AShMs in that its size has drastically reduced, and the layout was similar to that of contemporary western AShMs: the dimension of C-801 is extremely close to that of French Exocet, while the triple control surfaces of C-801 are almost identical to those found on the American Harpoon, and C-801 is sometimes referred by some as the Chinese Exocet. The compact size of C-801 provides it with distinct advantage over earlier HY/FL/SY missiles in that C-801 can be carried various platforms such as fighters and helicopter that previously could not carry large-sized missiles of earlier FL/HY/SY series, and shore-based batteries can carry more missiles in a single vehicle in comparison to earlier AShMs.
The compact size of C-801 also made it obvious candidate for a submarine-launched version, first deployed on board a modified Romeo Class submarine designated as Type 033G, with NATO reporting name Wuhan A class, carrying 6 missiles, 3 on each side of the sail. Originally, the submarine must surface to fire the missiles, and only a single unit went into the service for trial purposes, but the same boat was also participated heavily in the development of a submerged-launched version launched from torpedo tubes designated as YJ-1. Once YJ-1 was successfully developed, it became a primary weapon for other Chinese submarines for more than a decade until be superseded by the submerged-launched version of C-801 follow-on such as C-802. Although superseded by its follow on, C-801 still remains in low-scale production for export, with one of the biggest customer being Iran.
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