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China’s Red Arrow 12 missile delivers powerful punch

The HJ-12E Red Arrow 12 is a portable, fire-and-forget anti-tank missile capable of hitting tanks, bunkers, ships and helicopters, with a penetration capability of 1,100 millimeters – in other words, it’s not the kind of weapon you want to go up against. 

Domestically produced in China, it is often compared to the GFM-148 Javelin missile used by the US military.

The HJ-12 enables soldiers to lock on target, fire and then move on without maintaining position to guide the missile to its target, providing tactical advantages.

Sources say the missile is capable of destroying even the most advanced tanks in the world – perhaps one of the reasons the US Marines are scrapping their tank divisions.

No surprise then that a leading Chinese arms firm has delivered a batch of advanced portable HJ-12E anti-tank missiles to an undisclosed foreign buyer in the first export case of this type of high-end weaponry, The Global Times reported.

Despite the Covid-19 outbreak that had brought difficulties in personnel exchanges since the Spring Festival holidays, state-owned China North Industries Group Corporation (Norinco) was able to deliver containers carrying the missiles to foreign clients before the scheduled shipment date, the report said.

It was the first time a third-generation anti-tank weapon system developed by the Chinese company has been exported.

In keeping with the veil of secrecy in China, Norinco did not disclose more details on the deal in the statement, including the name of the buyer, the quantity purchased and the value of the deal, the report said.

The delivery demonstrated the Chinese arms firm’s reliability and proved it can fulfill a contract even under seeming “force majeure,” overcoming difficulties and prioritizing the client’s interest, a military expert who asked not to be named told the Global Times.

It is expected to be a high-end weapon that not every military can afford in mass quantities, but it should be more cost-efficient than its competitors like the Javelin.


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