China showcases equivalent to US Javelin anti-tank guided missile known as HJ-12

In a recent article by China Arms, the Chinese Army's Xinjiang Military District conducted a live-fire exercise in the challenging Karakoram plateau, showcasing its equivalent to the U.S. FGM-148 Javelin Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM), known as the HJ-12, also referred to as the Red Arrow-12.
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The HJ-12 135mm Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) is the Chinese equivalent of the American FGM-148 Javelin (Picture source: China Arms)

Developed by China North Industries Corporation (Norinco), the HJ-12 is a third-generation individual anti-tank guided missile system (ATGM) with a unique design for stable aerodynamics during flight. It houses a thermal imaging phased array guidance system, offering advanced technology.

The HJ-12 boasts "lock-on before launch" and "fire and forget" capabilities, ensuring accuracy and efficiency. Its larger diameter (135mm compared to Javelin's 114mm) implies the potential for a heavier warhead and greater destructive power.

Once launched, the missile rapidly deploys wings and tail fins, locking onto a tank or armored vehicle for precise accuracy. Its top-attack mode targets the less-armored top section of tanks, with armor-penetrating capability exceeding 1,000mm.

Key specifications include a weight of around 17 kilograms ($2,380), a length of about 1 meter with a 1.25-meter launch tube, and an effective range of 75 to 2,000 meters (up to 4,000 meters with TV guidance). It features an 8.4-kilogram vertical conical-shaped Explosive Reactive Armor Penetrator (HEAT) warhead.

Operated by a two-person team, the HJ-12 has been in service since at least 2013 and is used by the PLA Land Force. Developed from 2000 to 2010, production began in 2012. Costs include over ¥50,000 ($7,000) for the missile and over ¥130,000 ($18,200) for the reusable control launch component. Guidance and control systems combine TV guidance, Infrared Imaging Guidance (IIR), and fire-and-forget technology, with image-guided targeting and target image memory functionality.