Military Wiki
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 users
Wars Yugoslav wars, Syrian Civil War
Production history
Designer Research Institute 203
Designed 1970-1984 [1]
Manufacturer NORINCO (Factory 282, Factory 5618)[1]
Kahuta Research Laboratories (Pakistan)[2]
Variants see variants
Weight 25 kg
Length 1,566 mm
Diameter 120 mm

Engine Solid-fuel rocket
3000-6000 m[3]
Speed 220m/s
SACLOS wire guidance
Tri-pod, vehicle, aircraft

The HJ-8 or Hongjian-8 ("红箭-8" transliterated as "Red Arrow-8") is a second generation tube-launched, optically tracked, wire-guided anti-tank missile system which was originally deployed by the People's Liberation Army since the late 1980s. Pakistan produces this missile system under licence as the Baktar-Shikan at Kahuta Research Laboratories.[2][4] It is able to defeat explosive reactive armour (ERA).[5]


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 early 1980s, after the end of the 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 Kahuta Research Laboratories of Pakistan.[2]


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.[6] 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,[5] 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.[7]

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[8] and aerial targets at 2 km, while the HJ-8H missile is effective against ground targets at ranges of 4 km away,[9] 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.


  • HJ-8 - The original version. Claimed to be able to achieve a kill probability of 90%[10]
  • HJ-8A - First upgrade of HJ-8 with greater penetration power, slightly larger than HJ-8, with range increased to 4 km.
  • HJ-8B - A HJ-8 model specifically developed for helicopters, with greater penetration power and range increased to 5.3 km.[citation needed]
  • HJ-8E - Upgrade of HJ-8B/C with a new rocket motor that increases range to 6 km,[citation needed] entered service in mid-1990. Fire-control system (FCS) is highly digitized and includes a thermal imaging system for all-weather day-night capability. The HJ-8E anti-tank missile weighs 24.5 kg, has a range of up to 4,000 m,[5] can also defeat explosive reactive armour (ERA).
  • HJ-8L - A model with reduced overall weight, L meaning "light". Using feedback from the Bosnian War, HJ-8E was designed to meet the need of a lightweight ATGM that is just as capable as heavier models. HJ-8L can accommodate two missiles, one smaller with 3 km range and one larger with 4 km range. New microelectronics are used in the fire-control system and use of composite materials in the launching/storage system reduce weight to 22.5 kg, so that HJ-8L can be carried by a crew of two.
  • HJ-8H - Upgraded HJ-8E; adopting the same fire-control system and lightweight launching/storage system of HJ-8L. Uses a new missile, capable of engaging ground targets 6 km[citation needed] away and low speed aerial targets such as helicopters 4 km away.[citation needed]
  • Baktar-Shikan - Baktar-Shikan is a variant of HJ-8 that has been manufactured under license by Pakistan since the late 1990s [1] and had a successful first test in July 1997.[7] The missile and launch system can be quickly disassembled into four sub-units, each weighing less than 25 kg, making the system man-portable. Baktar-Shikan is also mounted on Pakistani armoured personnel carriers (APCs) and a modified air-launched variant is used to arm the AH-1 Cobra helicopter gunships and other helicopters of the Pakistan Army Aviation wing. Pakistan also exports Baktar-Shikan. The export version is credited to destroy all currently known tank targets with a 90% hit and penetration probability at a distance of 3 km.[11] Baktar-Shikan has been exported to Bangladesh, Malaysia and Sri Lanka.[12] An indoor training simulator is also available with Baktar-Shikan. It is an exact replica of the weapon and is used to train operators by simulating various target speeds, ranges and angles. The target's movement parameters can be adapted to the progressive skill level of the operator under training.[13] An optional laser aiming device is also being developed/produced to increase accuracy at longer ranges.[12] According to SIPRI, between 1990 and 2010, Pakistan has produced 20,350 Baktar-Shikan missiles.[14]

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.[15][16][17]



 Bosnia and Herzegovina
 Syria - Different Syrian insurgent factions in the Syrian civil war. Externally supplied.
 United Arab Emirates [1]
 Bangladesh — Ordered in 2001, main anti-tank weapon of the Bangladesh Army [18]
 Pakistan — Produced locally under license as the Baktar-Shikan
 Sri Lanka
 Morocco — HJ-8L


  • Length: 875 mm
  • Diameter: 120 mm
  • Weight: 11.2 kg
  • Speed: > 220 m/s
  • Range: 0.1 – 6 km[citation needed][20]
  • Armour penetration: 800–1400 mm of RHA at 0° incidence / 180+ mm RHA at 68° incidence[21][22]

See also

Related development
Similar weapons
Related lists


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 "Sino Defence's HJ-8 Page". Sino Defence. 2008-09-28. Retrieved 2008-12-10. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Kahuta - Pakistan Special Weapons Facilities". Retrieved 2009-02-10. 
  3. This is in dispute. See discussion at Talk HJ-8
  4. "Pakistan Army Inventory". Retrieved 2008-12-10. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "Global Security's HJ-8 Page". Global Security. Retrieved 2008-12-14. 
  6. Jane's Weapon Systems 1988-1989 page 137
  7. 7.0 7.1 "HJ-8". Federation of American Scientists. 1999-08-10. Retrieved 2009-02-10. 
  8. 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.
  10. 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. 
  11. "Anti Tank Guided Missile Weapon System, Baktar Shikan". Defence Export Promotion Organization.,%20Surveillance%20and%20Sighting%20Systems. Retrieved 2008-12-10. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 "KARACHI: POF, French firm sign deal for co-production: Artillery ammunition". November 21, 2006. Retrieved 25 June, 2013. 
  13. Jane's Information Group. "IICS - Baktar Shikan ATGM Simulator (Pakistan), Land systems - Anti-armour". Retrieved 2010-05-12. 
  14. SIPRI Arms Transfers Database. "Transfers and licensed production of major conventional weapons". Retrieved 2011-04-01. 
  18. "HJ-8/Baktar Shikan Anti-Tank Guided Missile". Asia Pacific Defence Solutions Group. 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-10. 
  20. see HJ-8 Discussion on practical range limits of wire guided missiles
  21. "HJ-8". Retrieved 2010-05-12. 
  22. HJ-8 specifications at HJ-8 specifications at

External links

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