Chinese state-owned media have released an image suggesting that the Hongjian-12 (J-12) man-portable anti-tank guided weapon (ATGW) system is being operated by the People’s Liberation Army Ground Force (PLAGF).
A photograph released on 22 July via the WeChat account of the PLA’s Tibet Military Command shows a soldier carrying a launch tube assembly (LTA) that is very similar in appearance to that used by the HJ-12 system. The picture was released as part of a report about a PLAGF brigade conducting exercises on a Tibetan plateau and about how the unit is “improving its level of combat training”.
No further details were provided about the third-generation ATGW, including how long it has been in PLA service and where it is also being operated by other PLAGF units.
The system made headlines in March 2020 when manufacturer China North Industries Corporation (Norinco) announced that it has completed deliveries of its Red Arrow 12E – the export designation of the HJ-12 – to a foreign customer. The company said at the time that the move marked the first export of the ATGW but did not provide any details about the contract value, the identity of the customer, or the number of systems exported.
Some media reports have claimed that the first export costumer was Algeria, although this has yet to be confirmed.
A full-scale mock-up of the system was first shown at the 2014 Airshow China.