C-801 anti-ship missile

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Type Anti-ship & air-to-surface missiles
Place of origin China
Service history
In service early 1990s to present
Used by China
Wars Yemeni Civil War (2015-present)
Saudi-led intervention in Yemen (2015-present)[1]
Production history
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[2]
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

Engine rocket
Wingspan ≈ 1.18 meter
Propellant solid rocket
≈ 40 km
Flight ceiling Max allowed by platform
Flight altitude 8 - 20 m
Speed Mach > 0.75+
ARH / PRH / TV guidance / Infrared homing
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 (Chinese: 鹰击-8; pinyin: yīngjī-8; literally: "Eagle Strike 8"), 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,[3] and YJ-81, the air-launched version.[4] 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.[5] 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.[6] 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.


  • YJ-8: Basic version with fixed wings.[7]
  • YJ-8A: Modified YJ-8 with folding wings.[7]
  • C-801: Export version that is compatible with non-Chinese fire control system, with Thailand and Yemen as customers.[7] With the availability of more advanced AShMs, C-801 is no longer actively marketed after 2003.[7] Also reported to have a different seeker operating at frequencies different than that of YJ-8/8A, and also different wiring/cables to accommodate interfaces to NATO standard..
  • YJ-81: Air-launched version without the booster.[8]
  • C-801K: Export version of YJ-81, difference between the two is similar to those of surface-launched counterparts. Iran is the first known export customer.[8]
  • YJ-82: Submarine-launched version with launching method very similar to that of Harpoon.[8]
  • C-801Q: Export version of YJ-82.[8] Iran is rumored to be one of the first customers.
  • CM-708UN: successor to C-801Q with range increased to 55 km.[9]


  1. ^ https://warisboring.com/to-threaten-ships-the-houthis-improvised-a-missile-strike-force/
  2. ^ The Naval Institute Guide to World Naval Weapons Systems, 1997-1998. Retrieved 8 October 2015. 
  3. ^ "C-801". Retrieved 8 October 2015. 
  4. ^ "YJ91_01". SinoDefence. Retrieved 8 October 2015. 
  5. ^ Type 033G Wuhan-A class
  6. ^ YJ-1
  7. ^ a b c d "YJ-8 & 8A". Retrieved February 4, 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c d "YJ-8 & 8A AShM". Retrieved February 4, 2013. 
  9. ^ "CM-708UN". Retrieved November 12, 2014.