Aircraft / Aviation Vehicles & Artillery Small Arms Warships & Submarines Military Ranks Military Pay Chart (2024) Special Forces
Infantry Small Arms / The Warfighter

NORINCO HJ-8 (Hongjian-8) (Red Arrow-8)

Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) [ 1985 ]

Despite its Cold War roots, the Chinese HJ-8 is still a force on the modern battlefield.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 02/09/2023 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

With design work initially begun during the early part of the 1970s, the arrival of the indigenous Chinese HJ-8 Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) weapon was delayed by events of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). This then led to a delayed adoption of the capable battlefield weapon until 1985 to which manufacture has since been managed by the NORINCO complex in China. The weapon has also been taken on in local (licensed) production by the Pakistani military as the "Baktar-Shikan". Despite its Cold War roots, the HJ-8 remains a potent tank-killer today.

Long reliant on Soviet imports regarding military goods, there proved a shift in the 1960s and 1970s in China to develop its own military-industrial complex. This spawned a slew of localized products - some good some bad - that has, over the decades, made for a more independent Chinese military. The HJ-8 is, in many ways, a product of this period and its thinking.

The HJ-8 is detailed as a "second-generation" ATGM system. It is designed to confront enemy armor at range, usually from cover, and can even penetrate protection offered by modern use of Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA) blocks. The weapon is a complete system consisting of a launch tube, missile, optics kit and mounting assembly. While it can be fired from a standard heavy-duty tripod, it can also be affixed to military vehicles as well as aircraft to be used in the same armor-defeating role as intended. A typical operating crew is two personnel.

The tube fires a solid-fuel rocket that sports a lengthened penetrator on the warhead cone and four stabilizing fins. Operational ranges reach out to 19,600 feet (approximately 6 kilometers) in extreme-range cases and guidance comes in the form of operator-induced signals sent via a wire attached from the launched rocket to the launcher itself. As such, the weapon remains a "Line-Of-Sight" (LOS) anti-tank measure limited in range by the length of wire. Many LOS ATGM systems today (2014) have been succeeded by more potent "fire-and-forget" solutions. The HJ-8 missile itself weighs some 25 kilograms and features a length of 1,566mm with a diameter measuring 120mm. Speeds reach up to 721 feet-per-second.

The HJ-8 originated in its early production mark under the base "HJ-8" designation. This was followed by the improved HJ-8A with extended range and penetration values. The HJ-8B serves as a helicopter-launched form while the HJ-8C is intended to counter ERA use on modern Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) and similarly armored vehicles. The HJ-8D features a tandem warhead charge for improved penetration and the HJ-8E features an all-new motor system with extended engagement ranges. The HJ-8Fis a "bunker-buster" derivative and the related HF-8FAE is given a thermobaric warhead. The HJ-8L is a lightened model and the HJ-8H is a modernized HJ-8E form. The HJ-8S variant is intended for the anti-ship role.

Operators of the HJ-8 system (beyond China and Pakistan) includes Albania, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Egypt, Ecuador, Kenya, Malaysia, Morocco, Peru, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, the UAE, Uruguay and Zimbabwe. Bosnia forces utilized the HJ-8 in combat during the Bosnian War (1992-1995) and Syrian rebel groups are actively fielding the HJ-8 as a potent tank-killer against Syrian government armor in the ongoing Syrian Civil War (2011-?).©MilitaryFactory.com
Note: The above text is EXCLUSIVE to the site www.MilitaryFactory.com. It is the product of many hours of research and work made possible with the help of contributors, veterans, insiders, and topic specialists. If you happen upon this text anywhere else on the internet or in print, please let us know at MilitaryFactory AT gmail DOT com so that we may take appropriate action against the offender / offending site and continue to protect this original work.


Basics [+]
NORINCO - China / Kahuta Research Laboratories - Pakistan
Albania; Bangladesh; Bolivia; Bosnia and Herzegovina; China; Egypt; Ecuador; Iraq; Kenya; Malaysia; Morocco; Pakistan; Peru; Sri Lanka; Sudan; Syria; United Arab Emirates; Uruguay; Zimbabwe National flag of Albania National flag of Bangladesh National flag of Bolivia National flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina National flag of China National flag of Ecuador National flag of Egypt National flag of Iraq National flag of Malaysia National flag of Morocco National flag of Pakistan National flag of Peru National flag of Sri Lanka National flag of Sudan National flag of Syria National flag of the United Arab Emirates National flag of Uruguay National flag of Zimbabwe
Service Year
National Origin

Designed to engage and defeat armor / enemy tanks at range.

Overall Length
1,566 mm / 61.65 in
Barrel Length
1,566 mm / 61.65 in
Weight (Empty)
55.12 lb / 25.00 kg
SACLOS Wire-Guided; Solid-Fuel Rocket
*May not represent an exhuastive list; Calibers may be model-specific dependent; Always consult official manufacturer sources.
Single-Shot; Reusable Tube
Included Optics (SACLOS).

Material presented above is for historical and entertainment value and should not be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation - always consult official manufacturer sources for such information.

Max.Effective Range
14,760 ft / 4,498.8 m | 4,920.0 yds
Muzzle Velocity
720 ft/sec / 219 m/sec

HJ-8 - Base Series Designation; original production mark.
HJ-8A - Upgraded model with increased range and penetration.
HJ-8B - Helicopter-launched variant.
HJ-8C - ERA-counter model.
HJ-8D - Modernized form with tandem charge warhead.
HJ-8E - Modernized HJ-8B and HJ-8C models; increased range.
HJ-8F - "Bunker-Buster" Model.
HJ-8FAE - Thermobaric warhead.
HJ-8L - Lighter-weight model.
HJ-8H - Modernized HJ-8E models.
HJ-8S - Anti-Ship variant
Baktar-Shikan - Pakistani Army locally-produced variant.

Military lapel ribbon for the American Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon representing special forces
Military lapel ribbon for the Ukranian-Russian War
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2


1 / 1
Image of the NORINCO HJ-8 (Hongjian-8) (Red Arrow-8)
Image released to the Public Domain by Wikipedia user KIZILSUNGUR.

Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Cookies

2024 Military Pay Chart Military Ranks DoD Dictionary Conversion Calculators Military Alphabet Code Military Map Symbols

The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com. No A.I. was used in the generation of this content; site is 100% curated by humans.

Part of a network of sites that includes GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world, WDMMA.org (World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft), WDMMW.org (World Directory of Modern Military Warships), SR71blackbird.org, detailing the history of the world's most iconic spyplane, and MilitaryRibbons.info, cataloguing military medals and ribbons. Special Interest: RailRoad Junction, the locomotive encyclopedia.

©2023 www.MilitaryFactory.com • All Rights Reserved • Content ©2003-2023 (20yrs)