Anti-tank weapon to bolster PLA capability
Updated: 2014-08-26 06:57
By ZHAO LEI(China Daily)
From GPS-enabled helmets and long-range night vision goggles to high-powered sniper rifles, the Chinese military has continued upgrading equipment.
Now, the People's Liberation Army ground force will have another new state-of-the-art weapon in its arsenal－the HJ-12 anti-tank missile, which can destroy tanks at a distance of more than 4 km.
The missile was developed by China North Industries Group Corp, one of the major defense contractors for the PLA ground force.
The weapon will enable the PLA to catch up with the antitank combat capability of its Western and Russian counterparts and help it gain a bigger share in the international military equipment market, according to industry analysts.
"The HJ-12 is much more advanced than the anti-tank missiles currently used by the PLA ground force. It has a host of cutting-edge technologies that have been adopted by its most powerful counterparts in Western armies," said a military expert with knowledge of the HJ-12's development who declined to be named.
"Besides the PLA, I think its potential buyers will be militaries from developing countries that have to deal with third-generation tanks," he added. "But considering its possibly high price, the number of buyers will be small."
Globally, the market for portable, anti-tank missiles is dominated by Western and Russian products, such as the United States' FGM-148 Javelin and Russia's AT-13 Saxhorn-2.
The lack of a portable antitank missile has compromised the PLA's ability to attack enemy tanks and hindered efforts to modernize the arsenal for its infantry.
Jane's Defence Weekly reported that the HJ-12 features fire-and-forget capability and automatic self-guidance instruments, and it can be fired within buildings and bunkers due to its soft launch system.
The fire-and-forget technology, which does not require further guidance after launch, such as illumination of the target or wire guidance, is an important property for a guided weapon to have, since a person or vehicle that lingers near the target to guide the missile is vulnerable to attack and unable to carry out other tasks.
"The technology will help reduce the number of anti-tank missile operators deployed at a single battlefield, lowering probable casualties," said Li Xiaojian, editor at cjdby.com, one of the biggest military forums in China.
Tao Mujian, a commentator on defense technology, said: "The PLA has had several new types of infantry fighting vehicles, but their anti-tank weapon is still the HJ-73, a Soviet-developed missile that is too old to hit today's tanks. The HJ-12 will complement its weakness in anti-tank combat, bringing a revolutionary change to the land force."