Red Arrow 8E

Manufacturer: NORINCO - China North Industries Group Corporation - CNGC  
Product type: Weapons & Weapon Systems  
Name: Anti-tank guided missile launcher  


The NORINCO (China North Industries Corporation) Red Arrow 8 ATGW was developed by the No 203 Chinese Research Institute from the late 1970s as a follow on to the earlier Red Arrow 73 which was an improved version of the Russian Sagger.

Following extensive trials, the Red Arrow 8 was accepted for service with the People's Liberation Army in 1987. The first version to be produced in large numbers was the Red Arrow 8A which entered service in 1988 and had a single High Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT) warhead which would penetrate 600 mm of steel armour. This had a minimum range of 200 m and a maximum range of 3,000 m.

This was followed by the Red Arrow 8C which entered service in 1993 and has a nose-mounted precursor HEAT charge which clears away the layer of explosive armour to allow the main charge to penetrate the steel armour of the tank. The Red Arrow 8C is 1.15 m in length and has a range increased to 3,500 m.

In 1996 the latest Red Arrow 8E entered service with the People's Liberation Army. The Red Arrow 8E is longer as it has an improved rocket motor with more propellant which increases its range out to 4,000 m and is fitted with a nose-mounted precursor change and a main HEAT charge.

The structure of the Red Arrow 8E missile is said to have been simplified and a new digital guidance system employed. As well as having a 33.3 per cent increase in range, it is also claimed to have an improved hit probability and be more reliable.

According to NORINCO, the new missile can be fired from the existing Red Arrow launcher without modification. As an option the system can be fitted with a PTI- 32 thermal imager which can detect tank sized targets at a range of 4,000 m and identify tank size targets at a range of 2,000 m.

In addition to the tripod-mounted version of Red Arrow, there are also tracked and wheeled armoured platforms and a helicopter-based system with the gunner being provided with a roof-mounted stabilised sighting system.


It is a second-generation wire-guided tube-launched Semi-Automatic Command to Line Of Sight (SACLOS). The standard infantry version of the Red Arrow 8 system consists of four key parts, the missile in its launch tube, Infra-Red (IR) goniometer, guidance unit and tripod.

The system can be quickly disassembled into the above four components, none of which weigh more than 25 kg. This makes the system of particular use to light infantry units operating in rough terrain.

The missile is wire guided and all the operator has to do to ensure a hit is to keep the x12 optical sight on the target. Hit probability is claimed to be 90 per cent with penetration also being 90 per cent.

The missile in its sealed launch tube is attached to the guidance unit which provides steering commands to the missile corresponding to deviation signals received from the goniometer and the missile.

The IR goniometer is mounted on the left side of the launcher and, as well as serving as a day sight, also receives and modulates IR signals from the missile and feeds resulting deviation signals to the guidance unit. A night device can also be fitted.

The tripod is very similar to that used for the US Raytheon Systems Company TOW ATGW and consists of an elevation and traverse mechanism adjustable at three firing positions.

To enable targets to be engaged at night or under conditions of poor visability, the Red Arrow 8 anti-tank missile system can be fitted with a thermal imager which is mounted on the left side of the current sighting system. This has two fields of view, wide and narrow with the attached air bottle providing for 4.5 hours of operation depending on ambient conditions.

The Dr A Q Khan Research Laboratories of Pakistan has developed a very similar missile to the Red Arrow 8 called the Baktar Shikan; details are given under Pakistan.


In production. In service with the Bosnia-Herzegovina Muslim Army, Chile (limited number), Pakistan Army, People's Liberation Army and Thai Army.

Property Value
Firing range (m)
Rate of fire (rds/min)
Elevation (degree)
Depression (degree)
Traverse arc (degree)
Weight (kg)
Length (mm)

Included in:
Product Amount
WMZ 551 (Wheeled armoured personnel carrier)
YW 309 (Infantry fighting vehicle)
YW 531 / Type 63 (Tracked armoured personnel carrier)
YW 534 / ZSD89 (Tracked armoured personnel carrier)

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Red Arrow 8E
Red Arrow 8E
Red Arrow 8E