The 302 (302型反坦克导弹) with an unique numeric name that stands out among its counterparts was the first generation SACLOS anti-tank missile from early 1970s of Mainland China.
Being a part of the ambitious Project 122 as the secondary weapon against the masses of Soviet armored corps for the earlier 122 Medium Tank prototypes as well as the ancestor of HJ-8s, although having subpar penetration and rather slow speed, 302 is still lethal to tanks without ERA or composite armor and good at finishing up crippled enemies.
Vehicles equipped with this weapon
|Missile guidance time
|1.96 kg TNTeq
"302" does explosion damage upon hitting the surface of vehicles; with its HEAT warhead, it also causes splash damage to internal modules and crews of vehicles, alternatively the sheer explosion itself will cause overpressure damage to very light vehicles.
Comparison with analogues
- BGM-71 TOW (aside from TOW-2B)- much higher explosive content and penetration upon direct hit compare to 302.
- 9M113- very similar penetration stats but slight better than 302; higher explosive content and caliber.
- 9M14/HJ-73- Soviet/ reverse-engineered ATGM; 302 has higher speed and penetration, as well as better guidance.
Usage in battles
Although it has to be in a halt before launch upon enemies like many analogues of its tier, the penetration of 302 itself is mostly sufficient to knock down tanks of its era such as Pattons, M103s or T-62s; do note that the overall velocity and combat radius of 302 is not the highest among its analogue. If players are not confident of the shells from the cannon, 302 can take-down most targets within 2 shot; alternatively finishing off enemies who had been crippled by the 120 mm gun onboard of Project 122s, beware of the ballistic drop after launch though - any targets over 200 m without obstructions can be easily defeated by the missile.
Pros and cons
- Sufficiently high penetration for its rank
- SCALOS (mouse-controlled) missile for better accuracy
- Relatively low penetration, explosive content and speed for its rank
- Countered by ECCM equipped vehicles like AMX-30B2
- Lacks of the firepower to penetrate ERA packs
Before the Project 122 medium tanks, there were in fact no ATGMs for the PLAGF for more than a decade since 1960. Although there were plans for the J-201 ATGM in 1962, developed by the future "Father of Hong Jian (红箭; red arrow)", Wang Xingzhi (王兴治), the missile was yet to be certified by 1970s and it was eventually ditched in favor for the better HJ-73. While the Soviet Union was fond of "rocket tanks" which utilized their latest missile technology for anti-tank operations (i.e IT-1 or Object 775), there were plans to upgrade tanks with ATGMs based on older tank platforms - the AMX-13 (HOT) is the result of such idea - as the Campaign 2-4 called for ambitious designs for vehicles included in this campaign. This led to the earliest prototypes of Object 122 medium tanks also including 4 tubes of missiles welded onto the turret. Oddly enough, the team of engineers managed to create the earliest 2nd generation ATGM for the tank, dubbed "302" missile which utilized SACLOS guidance way before the official introduction of HJ-8 series in 1984 (Note: the development of HJ-8 was halted in 1970s until 1974 due to Cultural Revolution).
Due to design changes during the project and the eventual cancellation of Campaign 2-4, the "302" was lost in history and has very few evidence such as mock-up or prototypes to mark its existence on the pages of history. While the guidance system and overall design might have been inherited by the HJ-8; sharing the same 120 mm diameter, similar aerodynamic design and both were oddly enough to be developed in Xi'an, Shaanxi, the dubbed "302" missile can be said as an ancestor of the HJ-8 missile.
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