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HJ-8 Anti-Tank Missile

The Red Arrow 8 (Hong Jian, HJ-8) anti-tank missile is the second-generation anti-tank missile developed by China and was finalized in 1984. The missile uses optical sighting and tracking, infrared semi-automatic guidance, and wired transmission of instructions. The control mode is a gas spoiler and a tube launcher. The missile uses a variety of launch platforms, which can be launched by infantry, tracked and wheeled vehicles, helicopters, and other methods.

HJ-8 / Red Arrow 8


This missile is the second generation anti-tank missile of Chinese army. It has a weight of 11.2 kg, a diameter of 120 mm, and a total length of 875 mm. It uses a concentrated energy armor-piercing warhead and a piezoelectric fuze. The guidance method is visual sighting, handle operation, wired guidance. For attacking armored targets or fortifications within a range of 100-3000 meters, it is a tube launcher, optical tracking, wired semi-automatic infrared guided missile, firing rate of 2-3 rounds per minute, and the thickness of the armor of the warhead is about 800 mm. The hit probability is 90%, and it can be shot on knees or launched on the ground with a tripod. Our fast anti-army forces mounted the missile on a Beijing 212 4X4 off-road vehicle, forming an anti-tank missile light launch vehicle.

HJ-8 / Red Arrow 8

HJ-8 series can be regarded as Chinese products equivalent to American BGM-71 TOW and French German German Milan / European HOT anti-tank missile. The HJ-8 is a tube-launched, optical-tracking and line-guided missile system equipped with a HEAT anti-tank warhead. HJ-8 is a combination of three Western anti-tank missile systems that many experts believe are obtained from the Middle East and Asian countries, and then tested, reverse-engineered and modified: US BGM-71 TOW tripod; France / Germany MILAN Tracker control unit; and missiles from British Swingfire.

Following the original HJ-8 (referred to as HJ-8A to HJ-8H), there are many improved models, and each has improved features compared to previous models. HJ-8E entered service in mid 1990. The HJ-8E anti-tank missile weighs 24.5 kilograms, has a range of up to 4,000m, and can also defeat reactive explosive armor (ERA). The latest model is HJ-8H.

The HJ-8 is both reliable and accurate in design, and is now the standard anti-tank weapon for PLA’s WZ-9, Mi-17 and Gazelle (replacing the original Euromissile HOT first-generation helicopter).

Turret launching platform

Norinco has developed a launch platform that can be mounted on an armored combat vehicle and used as an HJ-8 launch platform, the SW-1 single-person turret. The all-steel welded SW-1 turret weighs 1,750 kg and can be mounted on various tracked or wheeled vehicles. It is said that the turret is not affected by the 0.50 caliber armor-piercing projectile at a close range (100 meters), and it will further improve its protective ability when installing additional armor. The turret can be panned 360 degrees and can be raised from -40 to +60 degrees. A fire control system based on HJ-8H was installed inside.

The SW-1’s main equipment includes four HJ-8H ATGMs, two of which are mounted at the rear of each side of the turret. Secondary weapons include a 30 mm main gun and a coaxial 0.30 caliber machine gun. A variety of ammunition can be used. The maximum firing speed of the main gun is about 6 rounds per second, and different automatic firing speeds can be selected. It is claimed that this 30mm long gun is effective for ground targets 4 kilometers away and 2 km air targets, while the HJ-8H missile is effective for ground targets 4 kilometers away.  Slow air target. The 1.4-ton remote follow-up model designed by the same designer Wu Lixin has been developed and entered Chinese service. Like its predecessor, this unmanned model was first tested by using the HJ-73C ATGM. The unmanned version carries 160 rounds of 30 mm ammunition.


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Major Model Variation

Red Arrow 8A (HJ-8A)

As a basic model, the minimum range is 100 meters and the maximum range is 3,000 meters. It consists of a barrel-mounted missile, an infrared optical sight and goniometer, a tripod launcher, and an electronic command device. The red-looking goniometer can observe the situation on the battlefield, lock and track targets. Two operators, at least four people are required when moving. The missile used by “Red Arrow 8A” is not significantly different from the British Aerospace “Spinfire” wired guided anti-tank missile. It also uses a polymer-charged warhead. The thrust is guaranteed by a dual-type solid rocket engine.

A folding stable leaf surface ensures the attitude balance during flight, and an infrared tracer tube ensures the tracking of the missile trajectory and guides the attack target. In the early stages of flight after launch, the solid fuel engine can accelerate the missile to 70 m / s, and then the maximum speed can be accelerated to 200-240 m / s. The traditional warhead weighs 3 kg, the warhead weighs 1.5 kg, and the thickness of the static armor is 800 mm. The command device weighed 24 kg and the tripod launcher weighed 23 kg.

The launch operation is very simple, but it takes some time to start the battle. The rate of fire is 2-3 rounds per minute. It is similar to the “Sports God”, “Tao”, “Hot” or “Milan” anti-tank missile system developed in the 1970s. It can be installed in the 531 armored personnel carrier (4 ammunition bases) or 4X4 wheeled light vehicles.

HJ-8 / Red Arrow 8

Red Arrow 8C (HJ-8C)

The main difference from the basic model “Red Arrow 8A” is only in the structure of the missile, which can use the new polymer charge warhead. Debuted for the first time at the Paris Air Show in 1993.


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Red Arrow 8E (HJ-8E)

The third model, which is different from the “Red Arrow 8C”, has not only improved the missile but also individual modules and all components during production, resulting in a complete anti-tank missile weapon system. Compared with the basic model, the main advantages are: the maximum range is increased to 4,000 meters when the basic launcher is used, the training system can be replaced, the missile command is changed to digital transmission, the embedded electronic self-test system is installed, and the conditions for nighttime and poor visibility.

The effective use of the system is to install the PTI-32 thermal vision sight (target detection distance of 4,000 meters, recognition distance of 2,000 meters, and weight of 8 kg), a new tandem warhead for penetrating reactive armor, missile hit probability and reliable weapon systems. Obviously improved performance, material technical support and maintenance system, and operator training system are relatively complete.

It can be effectively used under three launch platforms, both for portable use with a tripod launcher, and for installation on land-based carriers and helicopters. This missile is an improved version of our army’s second-generation anti-tank missile. It has a weight of 11.2 kg, a diameter of 120 mm, a total length of 875 mm, and a range of 100 meters to 4000 meters. Sighting, joystick operation, wired guidance, the thickness of the static armour is 800mm, the thickness of the mobile armour is 180mm / 68 degrees, the missile flight speed is 200m / s-240m / s, and the hit rate is 90%. The launching guidance device weighs 89.2 kilograms and is one of the main forces of our army’s first-line anti-tank missiles. A large number of our troops are installed.

The missile has a maximum range of 4,000 meters. The missile system can use the same launcher to launch all previous red The Arrow-8 missile uses a new series warhead to destroy reactive armor. The guidance part of the digital guidance system has an internal self-inspection capability and is equipped with an infrared thermal imaging system. The missile consists of a cartridge missile, a tripod, and an infrared It consists of a thermal imaging device, an infrared goniometer, and an electronic component box. It can be used for portable ground launches, and can also be used on off-road vehicles, wheeled, tracked armored vehicles and helicopters.

HJ-8 / Red Arrow 8

All Variations

HJ-8 – the original version. Claimed to be able to reach a 90% kill probability
HJ-8A-The first upgrade of HJ-8, with greater penetration, slightly larger than HJ-8, and increased range to 4 km.
HJ-8B-HJ-8 model developed for helicopters with greater penetration and increased range to 5.3 km.
HJ-8C-Specially developed to defeat explosive reactive armor in tandem loading. Starting with HJ-8C, all HJ-8 missiles can be carried on various platforms.
HJ-8D-An upgraded version that can be charged in series.
HJ-8E-HJ-8B / C upgrade, equipped with a new rocket engine, with a range of up to 4 kilometers, was put into use in mid 1990. The Fire Control System (FCS) has been highly digitized and includes thermal imaging systems for 24/7 capability. The HJ-8E anti-tank missile weighs 24.5 kg and has a range of up to 4,000m. It can also repel explosive reaction armor (ERA).
HJ-8F-A variant with an anti-coverage warhead.
HJ-8FAE-Version with hot-pressed warhead.
HJ-8L-weight reduction model, L stands for “light”. Utilizing feedback from the Bosnian War, the HJ-8E was designed to meet the needs of light ATGMs, which is as powerful as heavy models. The HJ-8L can accommodate two missiles, one smaller with a range of 3 kilometers and the other with a larger range of 4 kilometers. New microelectronic equipment is used in the fire control system, and composite materials are used in the launch / storage system. The weight is reduced to 22.5 kg, so the HJ-8L can be carried by two crew members.
HJ-8H-Upgraded HJ-8E; uses the same fire control system and light launch / storage system as the HJ-8L. Using a new type of missile, it can engage low-speed air targets such as ground targets 6 kilometers away and helicopters 4 kilometers away.
HJ-8S-variant with anti-ship warhead.

HJ-8 Anti-Tank Missile Specifications

Designer: NORINCO
Designed: 1970–1984
Manufacturer: NORINCO + Khan Research Laboratories (Pakistan)
Service: 1984–present
Weight: 25 kg
Length: 1,566 mm
Diameter: 120 mm
Engine: Solid-fuel rocket
Operational range: 3,000–4,000 m
Speed: 220 m/s
Guidance system: SACLOS wire guidance
Launch platform: Tripod, vehicle, aircraft


Real Combats

  • Yugoslav wars
  • Sudanese conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile
  • Syrian Civil War
  • Iraqi Civil War (2014–2017)


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