Chinese Army man-portable HJ-12 antitank missile inducted in Tibet

According to Liu Xuanzun reporting in Global Times, China's domestically developed HJ-12 man-portable anti-tank missile, previously known as a made-for-export weapon, is confirmed to be in service with the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), after it made its debut in a recent exercise organized by the PLA Tibet Military Command. The top-attack, fire-and-forget missile, often compared with the U.S. Javelin, can destroy any main battle tank.
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A soldier attached to a brigade affiliated with the #PLA #Tibet Military Command marches in training exercises, carrying a HJ-12 man-portable anti-tank missile, deep in Southwest China's plateau region in July 2021. (Picture source: screenshot from the WeChat account of the PLA Tibet Military Command via Global Times)

A brigade affiliated with the PLA Tibet Military Command recently conducted a series of exercises deep in the plateau region. A photo attached to the related statement show a soldier carrying a portable anti-tank missile during the exercise. So, the HJ-12 made its first public appearance in PLA service. By providing individual soldiers with the capability to independently destroy a tank more effectively than older weapons, the commissioning of the HJ-12 will significantly boost the PLA's anti-tank capabilities, observers said.

Developed by the state-owned China North Industries Group Corporation (NORINCO), the HJ-12, or the Red Arrow 12, was unveiled at Airshow China 2014 in Zhuhai, South China's Guangdong Province. Comparable with the U.S. Javelin missile, the HJ-12 is equipped with an advanced focal plane array infrared guidance system with lock-on before launch and fire-and-forget systems, reported. When performing a top-attack, the HJ-12 can destroy any type of main battle tank: the missile can penetrate homogeneous steel armor as thick as 1,100 mm protected by explosive reaction armor, quoted a report by China Central Television as saying.

The HJ-12 also offers strong anti-jamming capabilities with more types of guidance systems, Wei Dongxu, a Beijing-based military expert, told the Global Times. In addition to tanks, the HJ-12 can launch precision strikes on hostile bunkers, fortifications and buildings, Wei said.

The export version of the HJ-12, the HJ-12E, saw its first delivery to an undisclosed foreign buyer in early 2020, NORINCO revealed in March that year, labeling the weapon as a high-end product. It was the first time a third-generation anti-tank weapon system developed by the Chinese company has been exported, NORINCO said in a statement, without disclosing the name of the buyer, the quantity purchased or the value of the deal, Global Times concludes.