The Hongjian-12 (Chinese: 红箭-12; pinyin: Hóng Jiàn-12; lit. 'Red Arrow-12') is a third generation, man-portable, fire-and-forget infrared homing anti-tank missile of China. It was unveiled at the Eurosatory 2014 exhibition.[3]

Red Arrow 12 launcher at IDEX 2017.jpg
Red Arrow 12 mockup at IDEX 2017
TypeAnti-tank missile
Place of originPeople's Republic of China
Service history
Used bySee Users
Production history
Produced2014 – present
Mass22 kg (49 lb) (carry weight)
17 kg (37 lb) (missile)
5 kg (11 lb) (IIR/EO targeting sight)[1]
LengthMissile: 0.98 m (3.2 ft)
Launch tube: 1.2 m (3.9 ft)
DiameterMissile: 13.5 cm (5.3 in)
Launch tube: 17 cm (6.7 in)

Effective firing range4,000 m (2.5 mi) (daytime)[1]
2,000 m (1.2 mi) (nighttime)[1]
WarheadTandem shaped charge HEAT
Impact force

EngineSolid fuel rocket
infrared homing, TV imaging


The missile was first showcased on the Eurosatory 2014 exhibition.[3] Subsequent modifications and improvements were showcased in the following exhibitions. In Zhuhai Airshow 2016, Norinco unveiled HJ-12E, the export variant with new control fins and rocket motors[4]

On March 25, 2020, Norinco announced its first successful export order to an unknown country.[5]

In July 2021, the HJ-12 was incorporated into People's Liberation Army Ground Force service.[6] The PLA service version is likely based on the latest HJ-12E variant.[4]


HJ-12 (Red Arrow-12) missile showcased at IDEX 2017

The HJ-12 is a modern, third generation anti-tank missile developed by China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO). The HJ-12 is a fire-and-forget system utilizing Lock-On Before Launch (LOBL) and is capable of being fired within buildings and bunkers due to its soft launch system. Once launched, it will home autonomously onto its target, allowing the operator to immediately take cover or reload to engage another target. Its fire-and-forget technology will reduce the number of anti-tank operators needed on a battlefield. The missile is capable of day/night all-weather operation with its infrared homing, TV imaging dual-mode seeker.[7][2] The warhead uses a tandem shaped charge design with an estimated penetration capability of up to 1,100 mm (43 in) of rolled homogeneous armour (RHA) after penetrating explosive reactive armor.[3] The guided missile is capable of engaging armored vehicles, fortifications, helicopters, and boats.[8] When facing non-armored point targets, bunkers and fortifications, the missile can be fitted with either high-explosive or thermal effect warheads. When engaging enemy tanks and armored vehicles, the HJ-12 aims to destroy the top of its targets, the more vulnerable point.[7]

The HJ-12 is China's first portable anti-tank missile, increasing the ability of the People's Liberation Army Ground Force to have more modern and mobile infantry forces. It is intended to enable China to match up with anti-tank missile developments made by Western defense companies, like the FGM-148 Javelin and Spike.[7][2] The missile is also available for export to armies in developing countries that would need to contend with third-generation main battle tanks, but the number of potential buyers is likely small due to its higher cost.[9]


Base variant, first unveiled in Airshow China 2014.
Export designation for HJ-12[10]


See alsoEdit

Red Arrow Development
  • HJ-8 – wire-guided anti-tank missile system
  • HJ-9 – beam-riding anti-tank missile system
  • HJ-10 – fiber-optic wire-guided anti-tank missile system
Comparable systems
Related lists


  1. ^ a b c For Sale: A New Chinese Tank-Killer? – Popsci.com, 10 July 2014
  2. ^ a b c "HJ-12 Red Arrow 12 Fire-and-Forget multipurpose missile". armyrecognition. 31 July 2020.
  3. ^ a b c "Defense Industry of China unveils Red Arrow 12 HJ-12 man-portable fire-and-forget anti-tank missile". Army Recognition. 9 July 2014. Archived from the original on 22 July 2014. Retrieved 9 July 2014.
  4. ^ a b "红箭12还未大量普及?专克西方三代坦克软肋,无奈HJ73存货太多了". NetEase News. 4 August 2021.
  5. ^ "China exports first HJ-12 ATGMs". shephardmedia. 30 March 2020.
  6. ^ a b "Chinese Army man-portable HJ-12 antitank missile inducted in Tibet".
  7. ^ a b c "China unveils man portable copy of the Israeli Spike and US Javelin missile". defense-update. 13 November 2014.
  8. ^ "HJ-12". military-today.
  9. ^ Anti-tank weapon to bolster PLA capability – Armyrecognition.com, 26 August 2014
  10. ^ "China's Norinco announces first export of HJ-12E ATGW system". Janes. 31 March 2020.
  11. ^ "Image suggests HJ-12 ATGW is in service with PLA's Tibet Military Command". Janes. 26 July 2021.
  12. ^ "China delivers HJ-12 Red Arrow anti-tank guided missile weapon systems to Algeria". 30 July 2020. Retrieved 25 January 2022.
  13. ^ "SIPRI Arms Transfers Database". Retrieved 30 January 2022.