The HJ -12 (Hongjian-12 or Red Arrow-12) is a third generation, a state-of-the-art one man portable , fire-and-forget, multipurpose missile designed and developed by the Chinese Defense Company NORINCO. This new missile system was presented for the first time to the public at the China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition 2014 (AirShow China), which was held in Zhuhai (China) from the 11 to 16 November 2014. The HJ-12 is much more advanced than the anti-tank missiles currently used by the PLA ground force.
The launcher unit of the Red Arrow 12 seems to be similar to the Israeli Spike missile system and the American FGM-148 Javelin. The launch missile container is mounted on a tripod with its fire control unit. The firing sight is mounted on the left of the missile container.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. 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.
The Red Arrow 12 missile system adopts an IR imaging seeker for all-weather day and-night use, and an equally-effective daytime model using TV imaging seeker is also available.The Red Arrow 12 missile has tandem HEAT warhead to neutralize various targets as tanks, bunkers, small-boats and helicopters. The warhead is able to penetrate 1,100 mm of armour protected by explosive reactive armour. Its fire-and-forget technology will reduce the number of anti-tank operators needed on a battlefield, which lowers probable casualties. When engaging enemy tanks and armored vehicles, the HJ-12 aims to destroy the top of its targets, the more vulnerable point. Its design appears to be a combination of the Javelin and the Spike.
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. 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.