The AFT09 (AFT09型反坦克导弹武器系统; lit Anti-tank missile weapon system) is one of the dedicated ATGM carrier of PLAGF alongside with platforms with HJ-10 ATGM in PLAGF service. HJ-9 was part of the pre-development efforts by Institute 203 after they foreseeing the combat capabilities of HJ-73 and the earlier variants of HJ-8 would be ineffective against new MBTs; after PLAGF HQ demanded for a new ATGM against possible enemy MBTs by the 2000s, the engineer team based on the previous team that developed HJ-8 started the development of HJ-9 in 1988. The new missile ditched wire-guidance and opted for TV guidance instead, featuring tandem warhead for maximum effectiveness against enemy armored targets and revised solid fuel rocket engines for higher speed. The missile and its weapon system was finalized and delivered to PLAGF in 1999, appeared in both 50th and 60th National Day Parade as the anti-armor spearhead of PLAGF.
Introduced in Update "Drone Age" as the first PLAGF missile carrier, the AFT09 is a wheeled 4x4 Chinese ATGM carrier from 1999 with up to twelve HJ-9 ATGMs onboard. It uses a shortened variation of the WZ551 chassis (WZ550) which previously introduced on the PTL02 and WMA301 in previous patches, but instead of a large assault gun turret, it has an unmanned, retractable ATGM launcher brandishing four missiles at a time. It invites comparison to the French MEPHISTO but is in fact far more deadly: the chassis has higher forward mobility and the HJ-9 missiles are superior to the HOT-2 in almost every respect. Thanks to the HJ-9's unrivaled penetration, sufficiently fast missile speed and good FCS, players can send even groups of the toughest enemies straight back to the hanger with a single hit each.
Survivability and armour
Players of the Chinese tech tree might think that the chassis of AFT09 looks very similar to that of PTL02/WMA301- in fact this is a correct assumption as this is also a variant of the WZ551 chassis aka WZ550 with a 4x4 config; while player of VAB MEPHISTO in France will find many similarities to it. Most of the features on WZ551 are identical on both chassis other than being a 6x6 (WZ551) / 4x4 (WZ550) respectively, especially the overall protection. To sum up the overall protection in a few words, it would be: paper-thin. For the protection, other than the lower part of the chassis, the whole vehicle can only stop rifle-caliber bullets; anything that is larger than a M2HB is more than enough to tear down AFT09 and its 4 crews with ease even at long distance; so be extra careful on where should AFT09 appear.
|Armour||Front (Slope angle)||Sides||Rear||Roof|
|Hull|| 12 mm (31°) Upper
20 mm (43°) Lower
| 10 mm Top
10 mm Bottom
|8 mm||8 mm|
Since AFT09 is based on the WZ551 chassis but reduced into a 4x4 instead of 6x6, WZ551 family mostly shares the same Detuz BF8L413F engine (albeit at a slightly reduced power output) and ZF 5S-111GPA transmission; this reduction in size also means that it goes faster than its other cousins (at 95 km/h)while has a slightly better but still horrible -8 km/h reverse, so make sure to plan your route to cover; the overall mobility is also good so make sure to utilize it for getting into a shooting position before the enemy does.
|Game Mode||Max Speed (km/h)||Weight (tons)||Engine power (horsepower)||Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)|
Modifications and economy
The main and the only armament on AFT09 is the HJ-9 ATGMs onboard, these 12 rounds of missiles are the 2nd generation ATGM of PLAGF since 1999. The missile airframe resembles the South African ZT3 Ingwe used by the ZT3A2 (a fellow wheeled ATGM carrier) or US BGM-71 TOW, but performance-wise it is very similar to the infamous Russian 9M133 Kornet used by the BMP-2M: an incredibly potent tandem-heat warhead with 1,200 mm of penetration is more than enough to even send the infamous Rank VII T-80BVM to kingdom come. The 305 m/s maximum flight speed is basically the same as the Kornet or TOW-2B. The massive post-penetration damage leads to frequent OHKOs and the four kilograms of explosive mass will also overpressure light vehicles if that wasn't enough.
Although the HJ-9 is often said to be a laser beam-riding missile, it in fact uses a SACLOS system where the laser beam is presumably used to transmit coded information to the missile. As with other SACLOS systems in War Thunder, the HJ-9 cannot be fired on the move and cannot guide multiple missiles at the same time. Beam-riders like the Kornet are more flexible in these regards. However the HJ-9 is resistant to soft-kill APS systems and can be used against opponents like the PUMA and T-90A without any issues.
|HJ-9 missile||Turret rotation speed (°/s)||Reloading rate (seconds)|
|Ammunition|| Type of
|Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)|
|10 m||100 m||500 m||1,000 m||1,500 m||2,000 m|
|Ammunition|| Type of
| Fuse delay
| Fuse sensitivity
| Explosive mass
(TNT equivalent) (kg)
Note: the final 4 missiles at the internal rack clears out only when all missiles has been fired.
Usage in battles
Players of VAB MEPHISTO will soon find themselves home as AFT09 shared a very similar config of missile launcher and chassis; both vehicles are 4×4 and have a retractable launcher with 4 missiles. The HJ-9 is much deadlier than the HOT-2 however, with twice the flight speed, 25% greater raw penetration, and a tandem warhead, allowing players to be more aggressive. The AFT09 shares a similar chassis with the PTL02, but thanks to its relatively lighter weight, it has a higher top speed than the latter and a slightly faster reverse speed; although this might not sound like much for such a lightly-protected vehicle, the mobility is enough to take advantageous positions before most enemies can. Be ready to counter enemy assaults or retreat as soon as the tides have turned, as the AFT09 takes a while to reload and has a poor reverse speed. Do remember that the overall protection of it is only rated for rifle-caliber bullets, anything larger is like a hot knife through butter, therefore cover and stealth are the most essential element to ensure the overall survival of the vehicle. Be especially careful of vehicles with top-attack missiles such as the M3A3 Bradley because they can very easily destroy the AFT09 behind cover. The number of smoke grenades on the vehicle might be low, but it is still enough for a retreat or two.
AFT09 has a trump card in hand- its HJ-9 missiles. At its current tier, there is practically no vehicle that can stop its 1,200 mm penetration missile that flies at 500 m/s, this also ensures its capability even at the top tier as HJ-9 can even penetrate some of the most infamous MBTs in-game with ease. Fitted with ±10° vertical limits and a 1st generation TVD, this also ensures players can find targets at a faster rate and deliver the fatal blow to enemies; alternatively, its 5.5 km range is also threatening to hovering helicopters since most missiles at this tier can barely fly 4 km, a precise hit on them will very likely knock them out right away if they are unaware of such a huge missile. Unlike the Shturm-S or BMP-2M, the AFT09 does not have a proximity-fused HE missile available, so hitting attentive targets is difficult.
The large profile of the AFT09 is a double-edged sword. It is not difficult to spot the boxy wheeled APC chassis and the turret itself is very tall, which is a problem when moving between positions on the battlefield. A SPAA or IFV could easily turn the AFT09 into Swiss cheese with a quick burst. However, the height of the turret and the decent gun depression (-10 degrees is better than any other PRC vehicle) makes it possible to hide in hull-down positions behind hills and low cover while only exposing the unmanned turret, allowing the AFT09 to unleash its incredible offensive power without risking the crew. On large and open maps, an entrenched AFT09 can lock down an entire flank. This is not a risk-free strategy because incoming fire can detonate the loaded ATGMs and a single TOW-2B can end the party, so it is best to not stay in a fixed position for long and orient the hull to drive away quickly at a moment's notice.
Pros and cons
- Extremely high 1,200 mm penetration, enough to finish off any tank even at high tier (e.g. T-72A, Leopard 2A4, M1A1)
- ATGMs have fast flight speed
- Thermal gunsight with high zoom (3x-12x) allows efficient targeting in all weathers
- -10° gun depression makes hull-down a viable tactic
- Horrible -8 km/h reverse speed, fatal for a wheeled light vehicle
- Sluggish mobility on soft surface
- Can only fire when stationary which is dangerous in a sudden encounter
- Thin armour all around, can get penetrated by machine guns and shrapnel easily
As the development of the previous generation ATGM has settled (HJ-73) and earlier HJ-8 were proved ineffective against the latest MBTs from both USSR and NATO, PLAGF was in dire for a new heavy ATGM with new guidance system as well as sporting their latest FCS. The new missile started its pre-development theorization in early 1980s by Institute 203 and officially started its development in 1988, with the likelihood of influence from the US BGM-71 TOW captured in Vietnam in terms of caliber and appearance; the engineer team also has to develop TV guidance systems and quad-mount, retractable missile launcher which could be traced back to different ancestors such as the ZDF89 ATGM carrier with quad-mount HJ-8 and WZ504 ATGM carrier using HJ-73 with retractable launcher, the system was later installed on the newly-developed WZ550 4x4 chassis by Factory 256 (NORINCO Chongqing Tiema). Due to the oversized superstructure to fit in the weapon systems, designers simplified the design with superstructures cover only the missiles and new intergraded launcher with enhanced FCS. The result was the HJ-9 that has been finalized in 1995; the new weapon system, delivered in April 1999 for the Project 9910 (50th National Day Parade) as the earliest new equipment for the parade, was first shown in both the 50th and 60th National Day Parade as the vehicles G phalanx and 14th phalanx respectively on a WZ550 chassis with different camouflage designs. In NORINCO catalogues, they also displayed a tripod variant as a standalone weapon system or onboard a open-top Iveco truck as its main weapon; different export customer, such as Rwanda opted to mount HJ-9A launcher on top of their Otokar Cobra APC while Morocco purchased the tripod mount HJ-9A for their Marine Corps
Being based on a shortened version of the Chinese ZSL92 APC, the HJ-9 features excellent mobility, typical for most wheeled vehicles regardless of rank. Specifically, the HJ-9 can reach an excellent top speed of 95 km/h on paved roads thanks to its 290 horsepower diesel engine. On the other hand, the vehicle's comparably low combat weight and the resulting high power-to-weight ratio enable it to cross even rougher terrain with relative ease - just be wary of boggy areas and deep snow as these considerably hamper the mobility of wheeled vehicles in general.
In most cases, wheeled vehicles don't feature heavy duty protection so as to not hamper their mobility. This principle also applies to the HJ-9. Engineers only equipped the HJ-9 with steel armor up to 12 mm in thickness as well as bulletproof glass for the windows. Needless to say, this makes the HJ-9 highly susceptible to everything but small arms fire and shrapnel. Aircraft in particular may prioritize the HJ-9 over other targets due to its poor protection and lack of a defensive roof-mounted machine gun. As a result, commanders are best advised to make the most use out of the HJ-9's excellent mobility and constantly change position after each engagement to ensure they remain an elusive target on the battlefield.
- MEPHISTO - A very similar missile carrier from France
|China North Industries Corporation (中国兵器工业集团有限公司)|
|Type 62||▂Type 62* · Type 62*|
|Type 63||Type 63* · ZTS63*|
|Main Battle Tanks|
|WZ120||Type 59* · ZTZ59A* · ZTZ59D1|
|WZ121||Type 69* · Type 69-IIa* · T-69 II G**|
|WZ122||ZTZ88B · ZTZ88A · ZTZ96 · ZTZ96A · ZTZ96A (P)|
|WZ123||ZTZ99-II · ZTZ99-III|
|WZ1001||WZ1001(E) LCT · ZTZ99A|
|Tank Destroyers||AFT09 · PTL02 · WMA301** · PTZ89 · ZLT11|
|SPAA||ZSD63/PG87* · WZ305* · PGZ09 · PGZ04A|
|*Previously Fifth Ministry of Machine Building vehicles|
|China tank destroyers|
|PLA||PTZ89 · AFT09|
|USA||␗M8 HMC · LVT(A)(4) (ZiS-2) · ␗M10 GMC · ␗M36 GMC · ␗M113A1 (TOW)|
|USSR||␗SU-76M · ␗ISU-152 · ␗ISU-122 · ␗SU-100|
- https://www.bilibili.com/video/BV1m8411R7Ec A video introducing the development of the HJ-9