Man-portable Air Defense Missiles

HJ-12 Anti Tank Missile

The HJ-12 anti tank missile (Hong Jian 12 or Red Arrow 12) is a new Chinese anti-tank guided weapon. The HJ-12 anti tank missile has the same range and penetration capabilities as the FGM-148A Javelin. So the HJ-12 missile is one of the most advanced man-portable anti-tank guide missile system in the world today. It can destroyed any current main battle tank. It can also engage bunkers, small boats and low-flying helicopters. Only some existing anti-tank missiles besides Javelin are as advanced as the Chinese HJ-12 missile. One of comparable missiles is an Israeli Spike LR2. The HJ-12 missile was first publicly revealed in 2014. It is being proposed for export customers as a less expensive alternative to the Javelin. It was advertised under the GAM-100 missile export name. In 2020 it was announced that this missile has been delivered to an undisclosed country. This advanced anti-tank missile is also in service with the Chinese army. It was adopted by the Chinese army in 2020 or 2021.

The HJ-12 anti tank missile a man-portable weapon. It is shoulder-fired but can also be installed on the tripod or tracked and wheeled armor vehicles. The HJ-12 missile is operated by a crew of two. It consists of two parts, including the Command Launch Unit (CLU) and launcher tube with missile. The CLU is reusable, while launcher tube is disposable. The operator must attach a tube with missile to the CLU before each shot. After each shot the operator detaches empty tube and attached another one with missile for the next shot. The CLU has multiple channels with thermal imager for surveillance, scouting and target prioritization. It can operate at night and in all weather conditions. The gunner can choose the best channel depending on environmental conditions. When the gunner determines the target, target data is transferred to the missiles seeker. The missile locks on the target before launch. During flight it guides automatically. Once the missile is launched the operator can detach an empty tube and from the CLU and attach another tube with missile. It takes about 15 seconds to reload the missile. Alternatively the crew can leave the firing position.

The HJ-12  anti tank missile has a tandem High Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT) warhead. A precursor charge is used to defeat Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA) while the primary warhead penetrates the base armor. The HJ-12 missile penetrates 800 mm of steel armor behind ERA. Such penetration might be insufficient to defeat heavy frontal armor of modern tanks, such as a US M1A2 Abrams, South Korean K2 Black Panther, or Israeli Merkava Mk.4. However the HJ-12 missile has two modes of attack: top attack and direct attack. The top-attack flight mode is used to engage tanks and other armored vehicles. After the launch the missile climbs upward and then dives towards the target. This method is very suitable to destroy tanks, because most of them have only a minimum level of armor protection in the upper part of the turret. In direct attack mode the missile flies directly to the target. This mode is used to engage buildings, bunkers, weapon crews and concentrations of enemy troops. In the direct attack mode the Javelin can also engage low-flying helicopters.

 This Chinese anti-tank missile adopts an infrared imaging seeker or a TV imaging seeker for all-weather day-and-night fire.

 The HJ-12 anti tank missile has a soft launch capability. In the first stage of the launch the missile is thrown forward about 20 meters via a small compressed gas cylinder which is located at the back of the missile. When the missile thrown away from the operator, the main engine turns on. This feature allows to launch the missile from buildings and bunkers, without any risk for the gunner.

Specifications of  HJ-12 anti tank missile
Missile length:  ~ 1.1 m
Missile diameter: ~ 0.13 m
Launch tube length:~ 1.2 m
Armor penetration: 800 mm
Range of fire: 2.5 km
Infrared guidance range: 2000m
TV guidance range: 4000m

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