Chinese Arms Shipments to Philippines

    In negotiations since last year, some of the small arms shipments from China to the Government of the Philipines arrived amid much fanfare and public ceremony, with the Filipino President Duterte himself presiding over the festivities. Although it does coincide with the current fighting in Marawi, these shipments are the result of a multi-million dollar arms sale between the two countries. According to the Filipino defense blog Maxdefense, the initial arms grant is worth over $14 million, while a further $500 million might become a reality as a sort of credit for the Government to purchase from Chinese defense item producers.

    This particular shipment was primarily Norinco rifles and specifically the 5.56x45mm CQ-A5 carbine (AR15 copy), 7.62x51mm CS/LR4 bolt action precision rifle, and the 7.62x54R Type 85 (Norinco SVD). All of these were shipped along with their accompanying auxiliary accessories such as cleaning kits and optics. The CS/LR4 rifles come in plastic hard cases properly fitted to contain all the SL3 gear. Interestingly enough although the CS/LR4 rifles came with 4x scopes, the Type 85s either didn’t come issued with scopes at all, or they just so happen to not be in any of the photographs. Also, the CS/LR4 rifles have a picatinny rail mounted in front of the optic, for clip on thermal or infared optic attachments. There appears to be a cut out in the foam for such a clip on device, but again, either they didn’t come with it, or they just aren’t featured in the photographs at hand.

    Numbers of rifles aren’t available on the precision rifles but Maxdefense provided some insight on what they might be-

    While the CSAFP already mentioned that there are 3,000 CQ-A rifles, we determine how CS/LR4 and Type 85 rifles are there, which was totalled as 90 units.

    Each crate carries 5 sets of Type 85 rifles as shown on the photo below. this means that they could have arrived in 5s.

    A layman’s guess would be that the majority of these small arms are destined for the Philippine Army and not the Marines, as the Marines already have a comprehensive precision rifle program in place, in addition to recently receiving small arms aid from the United States. The CQ-A5s should fall in when it comes to weapons handling and zeroing procedures with the Filipino troops due to the current issue of Remington R4A5s, but the CS/LR4s and Type 85s will take some training for marksmen to become properly acquainted with.

    Photo credits go to Eunice Samonte,


    Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

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