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HJ-8 "Hongjian-8" [Red Arrow] ATGM

The PLA's second-generation anti-tank missile "Hongjian-8" [Red Arrow] was deployed in the late 1980s. This anti-tank missile has a long range and is accurate, dependable and powerful. It can pierce through armors 80mm thick. The front armor of the gun tower of Taiwan's best M60 tanks is only 110mm thick. The latest "Hongjian-8E" was finalized for production in the mid-1990. The "Hongjian-8E" has a range of four kilometers, and an estimated hit accuracy of over 90 percent. Since it is fitted with tandem warhead, it can pierce through tanks with reactive armor, and has an armor-piercing depth of over 100 millimeters. The "Hongjian-8E" can be carried by infantry soldiers or mounted on various types of vehicles and helicopters. The performance of the "Hongjian-8E" is similar to the "TOW" anti-tank missiles of the US army, and is better than the German and French "Milan" anti-tank missile.

The main attack weapon of China's Z-11, Mi-17 and Gazelle helicopter gunships is the Hongjian-8 anti-tank missile. China's first special helicopter gunship is a type of Gazelle anti-tank armed helicopter imported from France. Although its pylons can carry four to six Hongjian-8 and other anti-tank missiles, they can also carry rockets, machine guns and even cannons. The new WZ-9 helicopter gunship, the WZ-9 [export model code-named Z-9G] is a gunship converted from the French-designed Z-9 helicopter produced under license in China. Its pylons can carry four Hongjian-8 anti-tank missiles. As early as in 1989, a Hongjian-8 anti-tank missile was successfully launched from the WZ-9 helicopter.

In July 1997 Pakistan successfully tested two missile systems -- Anza and Baktar Shikan, which will add to its conventional military strength. Baktar Shikan is a second generation anti-tank guided missile weapon system which pursues the principle of optical aiming, IR tracking and automatically generated, remote controlled and wire transmitted guidance signals. The system can quickly be dis-assembled into the following four sub-units, each not weighing more than 25 Kgs, thus making the system man-portable:

  • Encased missile
  • IR Goniometer
  • Guidance unit
  • Tripod assembly

Aiming at the target through 12 magnifications sight of Goniometer, the firer presses the firing trigger and keeps the cross hairs of the sight on the target. The rest is done by the system itself, which automatically guides the missile to fly along the line of sight until it hits the target and a powerful warhead enables its destruction.

Support Equipment :

  • First Echelon Instrument -- a special device for quickly judging the operational state of Launching &Guidance System before firing. It is carried manually in a canvas pack.
  • Second Echelon Instrument -- facilitates fault finding of the Launching & Guidance System up to component level for repairs. It can be carried in a vehicle for use in the field.
  • Indoor Training Simulator -- provides inexpensive possibility of training the firer without resorting to actual firing.
At the end of 1969, the "823" anti-tank weapon research and production headquarters of the State Council’s National Defense Industry Office issued an order to develop the second-generation infrared semi-automatic anti-tank missile. During the Cultural Revolution, the development work encountered difficulties. The overall technical plan was determined in 1975, and the research and development task was formally issued in 1977. The Ministry of Machinery Industry ( Ministry of Ordnance Industry) decided to take the lead in the development of the 203 Research Institute. The first chief designer Wang Xingzhi , and the second chief designer Zhao Jiazheng.

In order to ensure the quality of finalized batch products and shorten the period from the research institute to the factory conversion, from 1977, the "Red Arrow-8" has been integrated with factories, which means that the production factory has begun to intervene in the research and development work, and implement joint design, joint trial production for joint experimentation.

Red Arrow-8A, the basic model, is composed of tube-mounted missile, infrared optical sighting device, goniometer, tripod launcher, and electronic command device. The red sight and goniometer can observe the battlefield situation, lock and track the target. The "Red Arrow 8A" missile is similar in appearance to the British Aerospace Corporation "Xuanhuo" wired guided anti-tank missile, and it also uses a shaped-energy armor-piercing warhead. The projectile weighs 11.2 kg, the warhead weighs 3.1 kg, the warhead weighs 1.5 kg, the piezoelectric fuze, the armor piercing power is 180 mm/68 degrees, and the static armor thickness is 800 mm. There are 4 folding stabilizing blades on the tail of the projectile to ensure the attitude balance during flight. In the early part of the flight after launch, the dual-standard solid rocket engine (composed of a speed-increasing engine and an endurance engine) can accelerate the missile to 70 meters per second, after which the maximum speed can be accelerated to 200 to 240 meters per second, and the maximum range is 3000 meters. The command unit weighs 24 kg, and the tripod launcher weighs 23 kg. There are 2 operators, and at least 4 people are required to move. The launch operation is simple, but it takes a certain amount of time to start the battle. The rate of fire is 2 to 3 rounds/min. Similar to the Tao missile , Hot missile or Milan anti-tank missile system developed in the 1970s , it can be installed on a Type 63 armored personnel carrier (4 ammunition base) or a 4X4 wheeled light vehicle.

Red Arrow-8C main difference between "Red Arrow 8A" is in the structure of the missile. For reactive armor, a warhead with precursor ammunition (probe) polymerized charge is used to increase the armor-breaking capability. It made its first public appearance at the Paris Air Show in 1993.

"Red Arrow 8E" is the third model, and different from "Red Arrow 8C", not only the missile, but also individual modules and all components have been improved. Compared with the basic model, the main advantages are: the projectile body becomes longer, the rocket propellant is added, the maximum range is increased to 4000 meters, the shaping system can be replaced, the missile command is replaced by digital transmission, and the embedded electronic self-check system is installed for protection. The all-weather combat capability at night and under poor visibility conditions uses PTI-32 thermal sight aiming (target detection range is 4000 meters, identification distance is 2000 meters, weighs 8 kg), and new tandem warheads are used for penetrating reactive armor. Digital The guidance part of the guided guidance system has internal self-inspection capabilities. The missile hit probability and weapon system reliability are significantly improved. The material technical support and maintenance system, as well as the operator training system are relatively complete. The missile system can launch all previous missiles with the same launcher. Red Arrow-8 missile. It can be used effectively under three launching platforms. It can not only carry a tripod launcher for portable use, but also install it on land-based carriers and helicopters. As one of the main forces of the front-line anti-tank missiles, the Red Arrow 8E has been installed with a large number of Chinese People's Liberation Army troops. This missile is also exported to the former Yugoslavia and has been tested in actual combat.

"Red Arrow 8F" was successfully developed as the fourth model in 2002. The main difference from the previous model is the warhead and missile structure. The polymer charge warhead used in previous models was mainly developed to deal with armored targets, but it was not very effective against other types of targets on the battlefield, such as field fortifications and solid bunkers. The new warhead of the "Red Arrow 8F" uses two types of ammunition, namely, polymer-charged armor-piercing projectiles and blasting killing projectiles. The armor-piercing projectiles at the front can penetrate 88 mm inclined homogeneous steel plates, clearing obstacles for the main killing effect of blasting projectiles. It can penetrate into armored vehicles or field fortifications and explode, resulting in maximum killing effect.

The HJ-8L is the most advanced modification of the complex today. In addition to the possibility of using new missiles with increased range and armor penetration, the new model received a lightweight launcher and is equipped with a periscope sight, which reduced the operator's vulnerability to enemy fire. The ATGM HJ-8L can use ATGMs from all early modifications, and the control system automatically recognizes the type of missile installed and selects the control mode.

"Red Arrow-8L" has miniaturized and lightened the entire weapon system. Its launch guidance device weighs only 22.5 kg, which can be carried by a soldier, which improves the anti-interference ability and improves the night combat performance. It is compatible with the previous launch Red Arrow-8 anti-tank missiles with a range of 3000 meters and 4000 meters. Technical indicators: The shooting range is 100-4000 meters during the day and 100-2000 meters at night. The hit rate is >90%. It can penetrate 220 mm/68 degree homogeneous armored steel plates with reactive armor, and the attacking projectile can effectively penetrate 700 mm steel bars. a. The guidance method is to use optical or thermal imager to observe and aim, to measure the angle through TV or thermal imager, to generate control commands through the digital control box, and to control the missile to hit the target by the wire transmission command. The missile’s aiming and launching form is the same as that of the Russian-made cornet anti-tank missile . It adopts periscope aiming and prone launch, which is convenient for the shooter to launch concealedly and improve the survival rate of the battlefield. The aiming and launching action can be completed by using the same eyepiece day and night. The shooting range is -6 degrees to +7 degrees, and the azimuth is 360 degrees. This variant is for export only , but did not enter production due to lack of buyer.

But, judging from the available information, the HJ-8L complex is offered exclusively for export, if ATGM of this type is available in the PLA, then in a minimum quantity. This is due to the fact that anti-tank units of the Chinese army are very well saturated with second-generation guided missile systems, which, subject to the use of new ATGMs, can overcome the protection of most modern armored vehicles. In addition, PLA control relies on ATGMs operating in "pulled and forgotten" mode, and considers it inappropriate to continue purchasing ATGMs with a hard-wired control command transmission system.

"Red Arrow 8FAE" is a newly developed and improved model that uses a thermobaric warhead. Related research and development information was exposed in 2006. It is reported that this new missile system can also destroy bunkers, buildings and other fortifications, as well as destroy the enemy's active forces in urban construction areas, with a maximum range of 4,000 meters and a total weight of only 26 kilograms. It can use all previous launchers, including the "Red Arrow 8L" light launcher.

HJ-8S – Variant with an anti ship warhead.

Baktar-Shikan – Baktar-Shikan (Urdu: "Armour Piercing") is a variant of HJ-8 that has been manufactured under license by Pakistan at Khan Research Laboratories since the late 1990s. and had a successful first test in July 1997.[5] The missile and launch system can be quickly disassembled into four sub-units, each weighing less than 25 kg, making the system crew-portable. Baktar-Shikan is also mounted on Pakistani armoured personnel carriers (APCs) and a modified air-launched variant is used to arm the AH-1 Cobra helicopter gunships and other helicopters of the Pakistan Army Aviation wing. Pakistan also exports Baktar-Shikan. The export version is credited to destroy all currently known tank targets with a 90% hit and penetration probability at a distance of 3 km. Baktar-Shikan has been exported to Bangladesh and Malaysia. An indoor training simulator is also available with Baktar-Shikan. It is an exact replica of the weapon and is used to train operators by simulating various target speeds, ranges and angles. The target's movement parameters can be adapted to the progressive skill level of the operator under training. An optional laser aiming device is also under development to increase accuracy at longer ranges. According to SIPRI, between 1990 and 2015, Pakistan has produced 22,850 Baktar-Shikan missiles. Some HongJian 8 (or Baktar Shikan) missiles were handed over to the Bosnian Muslim forces against Serbia Army in the early 1990s. The combat results showed that the missile had no difficulty in penetrating the front armour of the Serbia’s M-84 main battle tank.

According to information published in Chinese media, by the beginning of the 21st century, Chinese industry had produced more than 200,000 HJ-8 guided missiles of various modifications. ATGM HJ-8s are installed on various armored chassis and off-road vehicles.

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