HJ-8 / Baktar-Shikan

Baktar-Shikan ATGM, a licence-manufactured variant of HJ-8
Type Anti-tank missile
Place of origin People's Republic of China
Service history
Used by See Operators
Wars Yugoslav wars, Syrian Civil War, Iraqi Civil War (2014–present)
Production history
Designer Research Institute 203
Designed 1970–1984 [1]
Manufacturer NORINCO (Factory 282, Factory 5618)[1]Khan Research Laboratories (Pakistan)[2]
Variants see variants
Weight 25 kg
Length 1,566 mm
Diameter 120 mm

Engine Solid-fuel rocket
3000–4000 m
Speed 220 m/s
SACLOS wire guidance
Tripod, vehicle, aircraft

The HJ-8 or Hongjian-8 ("红箭-8" translated as "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. Pakistan produces this missile system under licence as the Baktar-Shikan at Khan Research Laboratories.[2][3] It is able to defeat explosive reactive armour (ERA).[4]


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 [1] and Khan Research Laboratories of Pakistan.[2]

HJ-8 of the Sri Lankan Army


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.[5]

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,[4] 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.[6]

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[7] and aerial targets at 2 km, while the HJ-8H missile is effective against ground targets at ranges of 4 km away,[8] 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.


Combat use


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.[1]


Since June 2013, videos showing the use of the HJ-8 by Free Syrian Army rebels against Syrian Arab Army armour have surfaced and have been successful in destroying T-72 tanks.[15][16][17]


Since December 2014, videos showing the use of the HJ-8 by the Peshmerga against ISIS have surfaced.[18]


Map with HJ-8 operators in blue

Current operators



See also

Related development
Similar weapons
Related lists


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Sino Defence's HJ-8 Page". Sino Defence. 2008-09-28. Retrieved 2008-12-10.
  2. 1 2 3 "Kahuta - Pakistan Special Weapons Facilities". GlobalSecurity.org. Retrieved 2009-02-10.
  3. "Pakistan Army Inventory". Retrieved 2008-12-10.
  4. 1 2 3 "Global Security's HJ-8 Page". Global Security. Retrieved 2008-12-14.
  5. Jane's Weapon Systems 1988-1989 page 137
  6. 1 2 "HJ-8". Federation of American Scientists. 1999-08-10. Retrieved 2009-02-10.
  7. 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.
  8. "ATGWs still hit the spot: Anti-tank guided weapons". Pakistan Defence. Retrieved 13 February 2015.
  9. Christopher Chant (January 1988). A Compendium of Armaments and Military Hardware (1st ed.). Routledge Kegan & Paul. p. 544. ISBN 978-0710207203. Retrieved 28 July 2012.
  10. "Anti Tank Guided Missile Weapon System, Baktar Shikan". Defence Export Promotion Organization. Retrieved 2008-12-10.
  11. 1 2 "KARACHI: POF, French firm sign deal for co-production: Artillery ammunition". November 21, 2006. Retrieved 25 June 2013.
  12. Jane's Information Group. "IICS - Baktar Shikan ATGM Simulator (Pakistan), Land systems - Anti-armour". Retrieved 2010-05-12.
  13. SIPRI Arms Transfers Database. "Transfers and licensed production of major conventional weapons". Retrieved 2011-04-01.
  14. "中国单兵导弹出口多国 又添新成员"红箭11"". Retrieved 13 February 2015.
  15. Oryx. "Oryx Blog". Retrieved 13 February 2015.
  16. "HJ-8 missile shot a tank in the al-Jazr Checkpoint". YouTube. 1 July 2013. Retrieved 13 February 2015.
  17. "Red Arrow Anti Tank Missile in Syria". YouTube. 14 July 2013. Retrieved 13 February 2015.
  18. "Peshmerga use HJ-8". YouTube. 18 December 2014. Retrieved 13 February 2015.
  19. "HJ-8/Baktar Shikan Anti-Tank Guided Missile". Asia Pacific Defence Solutions Group. 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-10.
  20. http://zonamilitaroficial.blogspot.com/2015/09/nuevos-tanques-para-venezuela.html
  21. http://www.entelectwebmanager.co.za/ECGWebManager/MainContentImages/122882/SAR%20Zim%20profile%20July%202011%20online%20version.pdf
  22. 1 2 US ARMY TRADOC G-2. Worldwide Equipment Guide, volume 1: ground systems. December 2011.
  23. Deagel.com. "HJ-8". Deagel.com. Retrieved 2010-05-12.
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