HJ-9, or Hong Jian-9, or Red Arrow-9, developed by China North Industries Corporation (Norinco).

During the Cold War, the People’s Liberation Army was significantly inferior to the Soviet Union and the United States in military technology, both air and naval. To compensate for this disparity, China has developed a defense-oriented military, taking infantry as the main force.

Since the 1990s, the PLA has been heavily invested in modernization, and one of the Army’s priority areas is anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) systems. This is an inexpensive and effective approach against enemy armored vehicles and advanced tanks.

HJ-9 (Hong Jian-9)
HJ-9 (Hong Jian-9)

The PLA has officially commissioned its advanced HJ-8 anti-tank system since 1985 in small numbers, but its ability to fight advanced tanks such as the US M1 or the Soviet T-80 is questionable. The PLA needed a more modern ATGM to be able to take on modern Western tanks. The requirement is to have features equivalent to American and Russian anti-tank missiles such as Javelin, Kornet or Israeli Spike. And the HJ-9 system was born. This is the first anti-tank missile system designed for the PLA after the Cold War, and has been in service with the PLA since 1999.

HJ-9, or Hong Jian-9, or Red Arrow-9, developed by China North Industries Corporation (Norinco). It is similar in appearance to the Israeli man portable anti-tank system (MAPATS), causing speculation about the link between the two missiles. It is also similar to the South African ZT3 Ingwe anti-tank missile. Like the MAPATS and ZT3, the HJ-9 is guided by laser beam riding.

The HJ-9 has a maximum range of 5.5 km, and a minimum range of 100 m. Claimed armor penetration is 1,200mm, which is greater than that of the HJ-8. The missile may be fitted with high-explosive or thermal effect warheads for use against non-armored point targets, bunkers and fortifications.

In 2005, Norinco revealed in various public events that another version of HJ-9, the HJ-9A was already in service with Chinese armed forces, and this version used semi-active millimetre wave radar guidance. However, only photos of HJ-9A in service with Chinese paratroops were shown to the public. In these photos, the HJ-9A launcher is mounted on a jeep, and Norinco claimed the launcher on vehicles could be rapidly dismounted for foot soldiers. Norinco also revealed a further-developed advanced version of the HJ-9A, designated HJ-9B.


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