The HJ-8 on display
|Place of origin||People's Republic of China|
|Used by||See Operators|
Syrian Civil War
Iraqi Civil War (2014–present)
|Designer||Research Institute 203|
NORINCO (Factory 282, Factory 5618)|
Khan Research Laboratories (Pakistan)
|SACLOS wire guidance|
|Tripod, vehicle, aircraft|
The HJ-8 or Hongjian-8 (Chinese: 红箭-8; pinyin: Hóng Jiàn-8; literally: "Red Arrow-8") is a second generation tube-launched, optically tracked, wire-guided anti-tank missile system which was originally deployed by the Chinese People's Liberation Army since the late 1980s.
In 1970, Chinese armoured corps first proposed to develop a successor to HJ-73 and this was later approved, designated as the AFT-8 or HJ-8. The missile was jointly developed by Research Institute 203 and 282nd Factory, but the program was interrupted by political turmoil. The key designers were Wang Xingzhi (王兴治) and Zhao Jiazheng (赵家铮), who developed the missile. Development was not completed until the early 1980s, after the end of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. After receiving state certification, the missile entered mass-production in 1984. HJ-8 is an optically tracked, wire guided ATGM. A series of upgraded variants have been developed since.
HJ-8 and its variants are manufactured by NORINCO's Factory 282 (Jiangnan Machine Factory—江南机器厂), Factory 5618 (Hunan South China Photoelectricity Instrument Plant—湖南华南光电仪器厂) of China  and Khan Research Laboratories of Pakistan.
The HJ-8 series can be considered the Chinese equivalent of the American BGM-71 TOW and Franco-German MILAN / Euromissile HOT anti-tank missiles. HJ-8 is a tube-launched, optically tracked and wire-guided missile system armed with a HEAT anti-tank warhead. The HJ-8 is a combination many experts believe of three Western antitank missile systems obtained from nations in the Middle East and Asia that were then examined and reverse engineered and modified: the tripod from the US BGM-71 TOW; the tracker-control unit from the French/German MILAN; and the missile from the UK Swingfire.
There are numerous improved models following the original HJ-8, designated HJ-8A to HJ-8H, each incorporating improved features over the previous model. HJ-8E entered service in mid-1990. The HJ-8E anti-tank missile weighs 24.5 kg, has a range of up to 4,000 m, and can also defeat explosive reactive armour (ERA). The latest variant is the HJ-8H.
Designed to be both dependable and accurate, HJ-8 is now the standard anti-tank armament of the WZ-9, Mi-17, and Gazelle (replacing the original Euromissile HOT first carried) helicopter gunships of the PLA.
Turret launch platform
A launching platform that can be installed on armoured fighting vehicles has been developed by Norinco for use as an HJ-8 launching platform, the SW-1 one-man turret. The all-steel welded SW-1 turret weighs 1,750 kg and can be installed on various tracked or wheeled vehicles. The turret is stated to be immune to 0.50 caliber armour-piercing rounds at close range (100 meters) and protection is further increased when add-on armour is installed. The turret can traverse 360 degrees and be elevated -40 to +60 degrees. The fire-control system, based on that of HJ-8H, is internally mounted.
The primary armament of SW-1 includes four HJ-8H ATGM, with two mounted in the rear location on each side of the turret. The secondary armament comprises a 30 mm main gun and a coaxial 0.30 caliber machine gun. A variety of ammo can be used and the maximum rate of fire of the main gun is around 6 rounds per second, and automatic fire can be selected at various rates. The 30-mm gun is claimed to be effective against ground targets up to 4 km away and aerial targets at 2 km, while the HJ-8H missile is effective against ground targets at ranges of 4 km away, and against low and slow aerial targets at the same range. A follow-on model that is remotely operated weighing 1.4 ton has completed its development and entered Chinese service, designed by the same designer, Wu Lixin (吴立辛). Like its predecessor, this unmanned model was also first tested by using HJ-73C ATGM. The unmanned version carries 160 rounds of 30 mm ammunition.
- HJ-8 - The original version. Claimed to be able to achieve a kill probability of 90%
- HJ-8A - First upgrade of HJ-8 with greater penetration power, slightly larger than HJ-8, with range increased to 4 km.
- HJ-8B - A HJ-8 model specifically developed for helicopters, with greater penetration power and range increased to 5.3 km.
- HJ-8C - Specifically developed to defeat explosive reactive armour with a tandem-charge. From HJ-8C onward, all HJ-8 missiles can be carried by various platforms.
- HJ-8D - Upgraded variant with tandem charge.
- HJ-8E - Upgrade of HJ-8B/C with a new rocket motor with a range of up to 4 km, entered service in mid-1990. Fire-control system (FCS) is highly digitized and includes a thermal imaging system for all-weather day-night capability. The HJ-8E anti-tank missile weighs 24.5 kg, has a range of up to 4,000 m, can also defeat explosive reactive armour (ERA).
- HJ-8F - Variant with an anti bunker warhead.
- HJ-8FAE - Version featuring a thermobaric warhead.
- HJ-8L - A model with reduced overall weight, L meaning "light". Using feedback from the Bosnian War, HJ-8E was designed to meet the need of a lightweight ATGM that is just as capable as heavier models. HJ-8L can accommodate two missiles, one smaller with 3 km range and one larger with 4 km range. New microelectronics are used in the fire-control system and use of composite materials in the launching/storage system reduce weight to 22.5 kg, so that HJ-8L can be carried by a crew of two.
- HJ-8H - Upgraded HJ-8E; adopting the same fire-control system and lightweight launching/storage system of HJ-8L. Uses a new missile, capable of engaging ground targets 6 km away and low speed aerial targets such as helicopters 4 km away.
- HJ-8S - Variant with an anti ship warhead.
- Baktar-Shikan - Baktar-Shikan 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. 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.
- HJ-11 (AFT-11): development of HJ-8 with semi-active laser guidance, received a new designation HJ-11 because it is claimed to be the third generation anti-tank missile by Chinese.
- HJ-12: The newest version.
HJ-8 (possibly the Baktar-Shikan variant from Pakistan) units were supplied to Bosnian government forces in the early 1990s. Used by the Bosnian government forces against Bosnian Serb tanks during the mid-1990s, the weapon proved effective enough to penetrate the frontal armor of M-84 tanks.
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- Bangladesh — Ordered in 2001, main anti-tank weapon of the Bangladesh Army 
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Kurdistan - Peshmerga
- Morocco - HJ-8L
- Pakistan - Produced locally under license as the Baktar-Shikan
- Sri Lanka
- Sudan - Made under license as the Sarib by Military Industries Corporation.
- Syria - Different Syrian insurgent factions in the Syrian civil war. Externally supplied.
- United Arab Emirates 
- Length: 875 mm
- Diameter: 120 mm
- Weight: 11.2 kg
- Speed: > 220 m/s
- Range: 0.1 – 4 km
- Armour penetration: 800–1100 mm of RHA at 0° incidence / 180+ mm RHA at 68° incidence
- Related development
- Similar weapons
- Related lists
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- Jane's International Defense Review, 25 September 2008. This claimed range is likely exaggerated as the typical effective range of 30-mm automatic cannon is considerably less than four kilometers. The range claimed may be the maximum, as opposed to maximum effective, range of the weapon. By way of comparison, the M230 30-mm cannon has an effective range of 1.5 kilometers and a maximum range of 4.5 kilometers.
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- "Zona militar: Nuevos tanques para Venezuela". 4 September 2015.
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- Deagel.com. "HJ-8". Deagel.com. Retrieved 2010-05-12.
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