China North Industries Group (NORINCO) has developed a new anti-tank missile that can destroy targets at a distance of more than 4km.

The new HJ-12 missile is designed to enable China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) ground force to match the anti-tank combat capability of its Western and Russian counterparts, and also obtain a larger share in the foreign military equipment market, China Daily reported.

"The HJ-12 is much more advanced than the anti-tank missiles currently used by the PLA ground force."

A military expert familiar with the missile’s development said: "The HJ-12 is much more advanced than the anti-tank missiles currently used by the PLA ground force.

"It has a host of cutting-edge technologies that have been adopted by its most powerful counterparts in Western armies.

"Besides the PLA, I think its potential buyers will be militaries from developing countries that have to deal with third-generation tanks. But considering its possibly high price, the number of buyers will be small."

Defence technology commentator Tao Mujian said: "The PLA has had several new types of infantry fighting vehicles, but their anti-tank weapon is still the HJ-73, a Soviet-developed missile that is too old to hit today’s tanks.

"The HJ-12 will complement its weakness in anti-tank combat, bringing a revolutionary change to the land force."

Equipped with automatic self-guidance instruments, the missile features a fire-and-forget capability that eliminates the requirement for further guidance after launch, and can be fired within buildings and bunkers due to its soft launch system, IHS Jane’s reported. editor Li Xiaojian said: "The technology will help reduce the number of anti-tank missile operators deployed at a single battlefield, lowering probable casualties."

The unavailability of a portable anti-tank missile is claimed to have hindered the PLA’s ability to attack enemy tanks and also stalled its efforts to upgrade the arsenal for its infantry.

The global portable, anti-tank missiles market is currently dominated by Western and Russian products, such as the US’ FGM-148 Javelin and Russian AT-13 Saxhorn-2 missiles.

Defence Technology