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CNN Exclusive: US intel and satellite images show Saudi Arabia is now building its own ballistic missiles with help of China

Yes, but if Saudi Arabia has had access to Chinese missiles for at least 35 years and now access to locally produced ballistic missile technology and missile technology in general, why have they not tested any of their missiles like say Iran has?

It makes sense to diversify, I am just curious how deep the China-Saudi Arabia ties are as this is rather huge news geopolitically speaking. I am curious if the USA can/will make a fuss about this. Why did they not block the sale of all those highly advanced Chinese missiles (at the time in the 1980's) in the first place?

MBS and Biden don't seem to like each other either. I am curious what will happen long-term and whether or not China will try to gain a real foothold in the Middle East. Militarily speaking as well.

Anyway I am 100% sure that we (Pakistan) are helping Saudi Arabia and involved somehow.
Those missiles are already tested in China..

KSA and China have a comprehensive strategic relationship..

Pakistan is also involved..for sure..maybe in testing new missile technologies too..
 
Those missiles are already tested in China..

KSA and China have a comprehensive strategic relationship..

Pakistan is also involved..for sure..maybe in testing new missile technologies too..

Why are they not tested in Saudi Arabia?

Do you know where I can find more information about this news and about those "secret" bases inside Saudi Arabia?

In regards to the DF-17, I think that is a step too far. I doubt that China would sell/share technology with any country when it comes to the DF-17.
 
Why are they not tested in Saudi Arabia?

Do you know where I can find more information about this news and about those "secret" bases inside Saudi Arabia?

In regards to the DF-17, I think that is a step too far. I doubt that China would sell/share technology with any country when it comes to the DF-17.
There were rumors going on about China selling DF-17 to Pakistan.
 
There were rumors going on about China selling DF-17 to Pakistan.

Yes, but as far as we know they remain just that, rumors. I would be pleasantly surprised if that was the case though. Both in our case and that of Saudi Arabia.

 
I wonder why China sell their state of the art DF-17 to Saudi? I think it is impossible to be true. Unless DF-17 is not as good as they advertise it; or China has secretly has better missile than DF-17.

China's current most advanced hypersonic missile is the DF-27 with a range of 7000-8000 km, also just recently deployed.
 
We know that Saudi Arabia has plenty of ballistic missiles as that was already the case 35 years ago, but now with ongoing domestic production, the current number must be in the 100’s easily If not more.

If logic dictates that why are we yet to see a public display in the form of tests? Does Saudi Arabia worry about the political ramifications of such tests?
China's current most advanced hypersonic missile is the DF-27 with a range of 7000-8000 km, also just recently deployed.
So what you are implying here is that China could have, in theory, exported the D-17 to both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia?
 
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Why are they not tested in Saudi Arabia?

Do you know where I can find more information about this news and about those "secret" bases inside Saudi Arabia?

In regards to the DF-17, I think that is a step too far. I doubt that China would sell/share technology with any country when it comes to the DF-17.
Well my friend ..KSA was already working on a hypersonic missile with Ukraine.. and we know the close ties of the latter.. (before this war) with China..


https://www.popularmechanics.com/space/rockets/a18212031/ukraine-saudi-arabia-space-plane/


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Saudi Arabia owns a strategic missile sector, and it is top secret..
 
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Well my friend ..KSA was already working on a hypersonic missile with Ukraine.. and we know the close ties of the latter.. (before this war) with China..


https://www.popularmechanics.com/space/rockets/a18212031/ukraine-saudi-arabia-space-plane/


View attachment 849920

Saudi Arabia owns a strategic missile sector, and it is top secret..

That is all good but why has Saudi Arabia not tested any of their missiles in public or used them in Yemen? A bit strange, don’t you think?
 
That is all good but why has Saudi Arabia not tested any of their missiles in public or used them in Yemen? A bit strange, don’t you think?
If they are procured they don't need testing, and you wouldn't use them in Yemen when you have complete air superiority.
 
If they are procured they don't need testing, and you wouldn't use them in Yemen when you have complete air superiority.

Using a several million dollar missile to neutralize insurgents sounds like a overkill and waste of money.

Hypersonic missiles are used to penetrate a enemy who has a sophisticated air defence.
 
That is all good but why has Saudi Arabia not tested any of their missiles in public or used them in Yemen? A bit strange, don’t you think?
Yes many people find it a bit strange..but.. the missiles are tested in China..for the Chinese missiles.. and there are reports that Saudi Arabia has a huge testing base in another ME country..

You know with super computers today even a nuclear warhead can be simulated..getting it the closest to reality.. and in case of need their will be only some very minor adjustments to be made.. the same goes for ballistic missiles.. Saudi Arabia does not want to be sanctioned for something that it ought to have anyways.. so it is playing it smart.. declaring what it buys.. and hiding the main systems it owns..
 
If they are procured they don't need testing, and you wouldn't use them in Yemen when you have complete air superiority.

I am not talking about those well-known Chinese missiles that were procured 35 years ago. This is a open secret.

I am talking about the indigenously produced ballistic missiles inside Saudi Arabia. Why not test them openly?

Well that is true but I am sure that some missiles could have been used in Yemen.

Yes many people find it a bit strange..but.. the missiles are tested in China..for the Chinese missiles.. and there are reports that Saudi Arabia has a huge testing base in another ME country..

You know with super computers today even a nuclear warhead can be simulated..getting it the closest to reality.. and in case of need their will be only some very minor adjustments to be made.. the same goes for ballistic missiles.. Saudi Arabia does not want to be sanctioned for something that it ought to have anyways.. so it is playing it smart.. declaring what it buys.. and hiding the main systems it owns..

That sounds a bit strange. Which other ME country could be conducting tests of Saudi Arabian missiles? That rumor seems to be made up.

Why would Saudi Arabia be sanctioned for testing its own missiles?

I have no doubt that Saudi Arabia is well equipped in this regard and they probably have many fronts open.

Has there been a transfer of that Ukrainian missile tech already? I imagine so if those programs were financed by Saudi Arabia.
 
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December 23, 2021

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New satellite images taken by Planet show a burn operation occurred at a ballistic missile production facility near Dawadmi, Saudi Arabia between October 26 and November 2. Experts say this is the first unambiguous evidence that the facility is operating to produce missiles.


Washington (CNN)US intelligence agencies have assessed that Saudi Arabia is now actively manufacturing its own ballistic missiles with the help of China, CNN has learned, a development that could have significant ripple effects across the Middle East and complicate the Biden administration's efforts to restrain the nuclear ambitions of Iran, the Saudis' top regional rival.

Saudi Arabia is known to have purchased ballistic missiles from China in the past but has never been able to build its own -- until now, according to three sources familiar with the latest intelligence. Satellite images obtained by CNN also suggest the Kingdom is currently manufacturing the weapons in at least one location.

US officials at numerous agencies, including the National Security Council at the White House, have been briefed in recent months on classified intelligence revealing multiple large-scale transfers of sensitive ballistic missile technology between China and Saudi Arabia, according to two sources familiar with the latest assessments.

The Biden administration is now confronted with increasingly urgent questions about whether Saudi's ballistic missile advancements could dramatically change regional power dynamics and complicate efforts to expand the terms of a nuclear deal with Iran to include restraints on its own missile technology -- a goal shared by the US, Europe, Israel and Gulf countries.

Exclusive: US intel shows Saudi Arabia escalated its missile program with help from China
Exclusive: US intel shows Saudi Arabia escalated its missile program with help from China

Iran and Saudi Arabia are bitter enemies and it is unlikely Tehran will agree to stop making ballistic missiles if Saudi Arabia has begun manufacturing its own.

"While significant attention has been focused on Iran's large ballistic missile program, Saudi Arabia's development and now production of ballistic missiles has not received the same level of scrutiny," Jeffrey Lewis, a weapons expert and professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, told CNN.

"The domestic production of ballistic missiles by Saudi Arabia suggests that any diplomatic effort to control missile proliferation would need to involve other regional actors, like Saudi Arabia and Israel, that produce their own ballistic missiles," Lewis added.
Any US response could also be complicated by diplomatic considerations with China, as the Biden administration seeks to reengage Beijing on several other high-priority policy issues, including climate, trade and the pandemic.

"It's all a matter of calibration," a senior administration official told CNN.
The National Security Council and CIA declined to comment.


Pentagon pulls missile defense, other systems from Saudi Arabia and other Middle East countries

Asked if there have been any recent transfers of sensitive ballistic missile technology between China and Saudi Arabia, a spokesperson for China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs told CNN in a statement that the two countries are "comprehensive strategic partners" and "have maintained friendly cooperation in all fields, including in the field of military trade."

"Such cooperation does not violate any international law and does not involve the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction," the statement said.

The Saudi Government and embassy in Washington did not respond to CNN's request for comment.

New challenges for Biden

CNN first reported in 2019 that US intelligence agencies were aware that Saudi Arabia was collaborating with China to advance its ballistic missile program.

The Trump administration did not initially disclose its knowledge of that classified intelligence to key members of Congress, infuriating Democrats who discovered it outside of regular US government channels and concluded it had been deliberately left out of a series of briefings where they say it should have been presented.

That fueled Democratic criticism that the Trump administration was too soft on Saudi. Nuclear proliferation experts also say Trump's lack of response emboldened the Saudis to continue expanding their ballistic missile program.

Biden administration notifies Congress of $650 million arms sale to Saudi Arabia
Biden administration notifies Congress of $650 million arms sale to Saudi Arabia

"Normally, the U.S. would have pressured Saudi Arabia not to pursue these capabilities, but the first indicators that the Saudis were pursuing these capabilities indigenously emerged during the Trump era. The Trump administration, to put it lightly, was not interested in bearing down on Riyadh over these issues," according to Ankit Panda, a nuclear policy and weapons expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Some lawmakers have been briefed over the past few months on new intelligence about transfers of ballistic missile tech between Saudi Arabia and China, multiple sources told CNN.

The Biden administration is preparing to sanction some organizations involved in the transfers, sources told CNN, though some on Capitol Hill are concerned the White House is not willing to impose significant consequences on the Saudi government for its actions.

Given the current state of negotiations with Iran, the Saudi missile program could make an already thorny problem even more difficult.

"A robust Saudi missile program would introduce new challenges to constraining other missile programs in the region. To take just one example, Iran's missiles, which are a major concern to the U.S., would be more difficult to constrain in the future without parallel constraints on a growing Saudi program," Panda told CNN.

'First unambiguous evidence'

New satellite images obtained by CNN indicate the Saudis are already manufacturing ballistic missiles at a site previously constructed with Chinese assistance, according to experts who analyzed the photos and sources who confirmed they reflect advancements that are consistent with the latest US intelligence assessments.

Satellite photos taken by Planet, a commercial imaging company, between October 26 and November 9 show a burn operation occurred at a facility near Dawadmi, Saudi Arabia, according to researchers at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, who told CNN this is "the first unambiguous evidence that the facility is operating to produce missiles."


New satellite images suggest Saudi Arabia is now producing ballistic missiles at the site. The key piece of evidence is that the facility is operating a burn pit to dispose of solid-propellant leftover from the production of ballistic missiles.


New satellite images suggest Saudi Arabia is now producing ballistic missiles at the site. The key piece of evidence is that the facility is operating a "burn pit" to dispose of solid-propellant leftover from the production of ballistic missiles.

Satellite image captured on November 2 shows the facility is operating a burn pit to dispose of solid-propellant leftover from the production of ballistic missiles.

Satellite image captured on November 2 shows the facility is operating a "burn pit" to dispose of solid-propellant leftover from the production of ballistic missiles.

"The key piece of evidence is that the facility is operating a 'burn pit' to dispose of solid-propellant leftover from the production of ballistic missiles," said Lewis, a weapons expert and professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies who reviewed the images.

"Casting rocket motors results in leftover propellant, which is an explosive hazard. Solid-propellant missile production facilities often have burn pits where leftover propellant can be disposed of by burning. Burn operations are, therefore, a strong signature that the facility is actively casting solid rocket motors," he added.


A satellite image captured on November 9 shows the burn pit, which is used to dispose of solid-propellant leftover from the production of ballistic missiles, post-burn cleanup.

A satellite image captured on November 9 shows the "burn pit," which is used to dispose of solid-propellant leftover from the production of ballistic missiles, post-burn cleanup.

Still, little is known about the ballistic missiles that Saudi Arabia is building at this site, including important details like range and payload.

Considering the facility in question was built with Chinese assistance and new intelligence assessments showing Saudi Arabia has recently purchased sensitive ballistic missile technology from China, it is possible that the missiles being produced there are of Chinese design, according to Lewis.

But there is also evidence Saudi Arabia has looked to other countries for help with developing a ballistic missile program in recent years, making it difficult to identify exactly which weapons system the Kingdom is now building at this facility, Lewis noted.


CNN's Natasha Bertrand and Jeremy Herb contributed to this report.



https://www.cnn.com/2021/12/23/politics/saudi-ballistic-missiles-china/index.html
And why shouldn't Saudi Arabia work with China, when USA public dislike Saudi Arabia.

I think thats quite fair isn't it.

USA, Israel and India are foes. Pakistan's only friend is China.
You forgot Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, and Turkey are Pakistan's allies.
 
Interesting Iranian perspective.

Missile Cooperation between China and Saudi Arabia: the whys and consequences​


December 2021

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Khalil Shirgholami


According to the report by CNN based on the US intelligence agencies’ report and satellite images, Saudi Arabia is developing its solid-fuel missile program with the help of China in the al-Dawadami region. The traces of casting of missile engines and the solid fuel remains can be seen in the satellite images. China-Saudi cooperation in developing the ballistic missile program which can have enormous impacts on the balance of power in the Middle East is questionable. China, as claimed, while developing ties with all Middle East countries has not entered into the regional geopolitical conflicts and rivalries and not taken sides with any regional actor. China says it has adopted the policy of “impartial interaction” and “friend of all, enemy to none”, with and economic approach , and for this reason, it has established comprehensive ties with all regional countries from Saudi Arabia and the Emirates to Israel.
But helping a regional country to advance its ballistic missile program is not a step of the economic cooperation type, but a strategic step with specific geopolitical consequences. This has not only helped Saudi Arabia in creating balance against Iran which has so far had the upper hand in terms of missile capabilities and has questioned Iran’s deterrence in this area, but has seriously challenged the traditional notion that Iran, in the Middle East region, is the sole country out of the US orbit, and therefore the sole reliable and potential strategic partner of China. But how and within what framework of reason and logic this behavior of China and missile cooperation with Saudi can be interpreted?

Precedent

The first case of cooperation between China and Saudi Arabia in the missile area goes back to 1985, five years before the formation of diplomatic relations between the two countries, during which Saudis purchased CSS-2 midrange ballistic missiles named Dongfeng ( East Storm) and related launchers. The orchestrator of this action was General Khalid bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz who received the title of Saudi Arabia’s Father of Missile program. The transaction was not revealed until 1988. In 2007, too, Riyadh purchased DF-21 Dongfeng missiles from China. The point to be made is that both batches of these missiles had the capability of carrying nuclear warheads and brought up the speculation that Riyadh had in mind to equip these missiles with nuclear warheads. In 2019, the US intelligence agencies provided a report of China/Saudi cooperation for creating the Saudi missile program, which the Trump administration showed no reaction to. The reports published in that year indicated the existence of missile production factories in the al-Watah region in Southeast of Riyadh.

China-Saudi cooperation is not limited to the missile sector. Both countries have cooperated in the military UAV and nuclear areas. The Saudis have since long ago considered using nuclear energy and China’s ambitions for becoming a big nuclear energy actor of the Middle East have facilitated their cooperation. The Chinese, since 2017, have helped in discovering Uranium and Thorium resources and developing light-water reactors in Saudi Arabia. Also, there has been talk of construction of two nuclear reactors in the country. The US intelligence agencies’ reports indicate that there is a suspicious construct near Riyadh that could be one of the set of undeclared nuclear sites in Saudi Arabia. Another facility is the factory for producing yellow-cake in the far away region of al-Alla in Northwest of Saudi Arabia. These reports have raised the possibility of clandestine activities by Saudi Arabia and China for producing un-enriched uranium to be used later as fuel for the enriched nuclear weapons. This is while Bin Salman has stated if Iran becomes a nuclear power, this country will immediately take actions to follow suit.
In making offensive UAVs, Saudi Arabia has relied on China. In the 2017 King Salman trip to China, the two sides signed a protocol for establishing a drone factory for producing CH-4 UAVs and Saudis bought a number of these drones along with the Wing-long 1 and Wing-long 2 models from China.
The military ties between Saudi Arabia and China are some sort of strategic and security partnership. While the US-Saudi alliance has not been based on shared political values and has been merely interests-centered, in the China-Saudi relations, the gap of political values are not important and even the Chinese model of totalitarianism could be interesting to the Saudis. On the other side, to the two countries’ officials, the two plans of the Saudi Vision 2030 and the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative have enormous synergy and convergence.
In response to reports about missile cooperation, the Chinese foreign ministry’s spokesman has said that the two countries are strategic Omni –lateral partners and enjoy friendly cooperation in all areas including military trade. China considers Saudi Arabia one of its major partners in the Middle East and sine 2005 to present has invested about $45 billion in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has become the main source of China’s crude oil. These signs tell us that the two countries’ partnership could be called a strategic partnership in the real sense of the word.

Reasons for China’s Strategic Partnership with Saudi Arabia
  • Given the downsize in the US presence in the Middle East and Persian Gulf and adoption of the Offshore Balancing Policy by the Biden administration, China has practically declared readiness to fill the US void with the traditional US allies. While the US allies of the region have been of the belief that China could not provide security and replace the US in this area, China is trying to prove it will spare no effort for cooperation with them in the security area and could be a reliable partner even in providing security. The significance of China’s missile cooperation with the Saudis will be clearer when the US has never been willing to help Saudis in this area.
  • In the global rivalry between China and the US and the perspective of their conflicts which go beyond the Asia-Pacific, one of China’s major strategies is separating the US from its allies. Preventing the US from alignments against China by developing ties with the US allies is another Chinese strategy which is pursued through economic interests and strategic partnerships.
  • In the Middle East, China can by strengthening its influence in the US-allied countries, especially in the Persian Gulf region, and comprehensive strategic partnership with them, minimize the possibility of cutting the flow of its interests, especially securing energy in the future conflicts with the US and equip itself with the necessary tools of deterrence against the probable US actions.
  • The economic benefits of entrance and presence in the arms market are huge for China. At present, the Chinese drones have a major role in the Middle East arms market. Saudi Arabia, as the richest country in the Persian Gulf and with the first rank in the defense budget of the region, is an attractive market for China.
  • Also Saudi diplomacy has been important in drawing China’s support

Conclusion

China has so far claimed it has no intention of entering the global and regional geopolitical equations beyond its immediate national security area that is Taiwan and the East and South China Seas. Also, in the Middle East and Persian Gulf conflicts, China has not sided with any actor and has established balanced relations with all regional countries. But what could be interpreted from China’s cooperation with Saudi Arabia in producing and indigenizing ballistic missiles is contrary to this claim. With partnering in developing the Saudi ballistic missile program, an area even the US has great reservations about, China is entering and influencing the regional geopolitical equations and creating grounds for proliferation of unconventional arms in the interest of one of the region’s countries. With helping Saudis in developing their ballistic missile program, China is, consciously or unconsciously, undermining Iran’s upper hand status of missile deterrence, while Saudi Arabia, by access to advanced new generation US aircraft, has a big advantage on its side and Iran’s advantage so far has been its ballistic missiles. Continuation of China-Saudi strategic partnership in the military area, could have profound impacts on the West Asia’s military and security equations as well as on the regional balance of power.

Khalil Shirgholami, Senior Expert of IPIS

(The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the IPIS)


Saudi Arabia-China Ballistic Missile Deal 'Deeply Alarming,' Senator Says​

BY DAVID BRENNAN ON 12/24/21 AT 6:58 AM EST


A reported deal between Saudi Arabia and China to help the former develop its ballistic missile arsenal could spark a new arms race in the region, Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) has warned.

CNN reported on Thursday that U.S. intelligence officials believe Riyadh—thanks to help from Beijing—is working to produce its own ballistic missiles, where in the past it had only been importing them from foreign buyers.

Several officials at multiple agencies, including the White House's National Security Council, have reportedly been briefed on the significant transfer of ballistic missile technology from China to Saudi Arabia.

On Thursday, Markey—a member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and its subcommittee dealing with the Middle East—responded, making clear his concern.

"Reports that China is aiding Saudi Arabia's ballistic missile program are deeply alarming, but not surprising," Markey wrote on on Twitter, urging his colleagues to act.

"Congress must pass my Saudi WMD Act to prevent an illicit Saudi weapons program which could spark an arms race in that region."

The lawmaker was referring to the Stopping Activities Underpinning Development in Weapons of Mass Destruction Act that Markey reintroduced in April along with Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) and Ted Lieu (D-CA).

The legislation "aims to restore oversight and take steps to impede access to sensitive technologies that could pave the way to Saudi Arabia acquiring a nuclear weapon."


The tense geopolitical situation in the Middle East—much of it now split into two blocs led by Iran on one side, and the U.S.-Saudi-Israeli partnership on the other—is driving a new arms race.

Iran's proxy forces in Iraq, Yemen, Syria, and Lebanon are armed and funded by Tehran, which is also pressing ahead with its own ballistic missile development despite international protests.

Iran has been expanding its nuclear program since former U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action deal in 2018—with the backing of Israel and Saudi Arabia.

With JCPOA revival talks at an impasse, it is unclear whether the international community will be able to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons; or at least reaching a point where it can do so within a matter of weeks.

U.S. and European leaders have long sought to fold Iran's ballistic missile program into any future nuclear restrictions. Tehran has repeatedly rebuffed such suggestions. Reports that Saudi Arabia is now working on its own indigenous ballistic arsenal will likely make Iran cling even tighter to its own.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman warned in 2018 that Riyadh would seek parity if Iran develops nuclear weapons. "Saudi Arabia does not want to acquire any nuclear bomb, but without a doubt, if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we will follow suit as soon as possible," the Saudi heir told CBS.

Xi Jinping and King Salman in Beijing

Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands with Saudi Arabian King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud during a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People on March 16, 2017 in Beijing, China.LINTAO ZHANG/POOL/GETTY IMAGES

 
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