The modern Chinese Army has placed a premium on self-propelled, armor-defeating solutions as showcased through a bevy of missile-carrying designs (the ZBL-08, ZBD-03, ZBD-04A, and ZBD-05 to name a few). These serve the People's Liberation Army's (PLA) vast mechanized forces . The ZBD-04A AT, the focus of this article, is the result of a mating between the ZBD-04 (Type 4) tracked chassis and the HJ-10 ("Red Arrow 10") Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) weapon system. The ZBD-04 AT maintains an active standing in the PLA ground force inventory of the Chinese military today (2020) and is a staple of annual Chinese military parades aimed at promoting patriotism locally and flexing local military muscle internationally.
Tank-killing remains a priority for most of the large global armies that include the United States, Russia, India, and China for their primary challengers would most likely field large masses of armored systems (tanks, IFVs, APCs) in the event of Total War. In today's volatile world, the primary challengers to China become the United States and neighboring India - who both have, on hand, thousands of tanks. As such, considerable investment has been made to provide the PLA with effective armor-defeating systems and solutions like the ZBD-04A AT.
With the ZBD-04 Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) tracked chassis as a starting point, the ZBD-04A AT missile carrier is given excellent on-road/off-road capabilities. The hull sports slab sides and a very-shallow glacis plate at front. The driver is positioned at front-left with the commander to his rear (placing the powerpack to the front right). Another crewman takes up a position next to the commander. Crewmen have access to individual access hatches over their respective positions and each work station is completed with thick vision blocks for basic situational awareness. Over the rear of the hull is installed the ATGM launcher unit consisting of twin quadruple launchers on a traversing/elevating mounting. This gives the vehicle exceptional engagement angles regardless of the direction of travel or facing of the hull.
A diesel-fueled engine drives power to the vehicle and its various systems. The running gear includes six rubber-tired road wheels to a track side with the drive sprocket situated at front and the track idler at the rear. This arrangement allows the ZBD-04A system to keep pace with the bulk of the Chinese mechanized forces.
The HJ-10 features a tandem, High-Explosive, Anti-Tank (HEAT) warhead capable of defeating modern armor protection schemes (including Explosive Reactive Armor - ERA - blocks) up to 1,400mm think at ranges out to six miles. The missile has spring-loaded fins and can be directed to the target by way of fiber optic or radar guidance. The missile is also used as an air-launched weapon from the Z-10, Z-11, and Z-19 helicopter platforms and the CASC "Rainbow" UAV as a tank-killing measure.