The AKD-10 (Chinese: AKD-10反坦克导弹), known as Blue Arrow 7 when exported, is a Chinese air-to-ground missile developed by Institute 203 of NORINCO for ground attack operations, usually against armoured targets and sometimes fixed targets. With its rather long firing range and penetration, the missile will prove deadly to most ground targets without APS onboard.
Vehicles equipped with this weapon
|Maximum speed||345 m/s|
|Missile guidance time||36 secs|
|Firing range||10 km|
|Explosive mass||6.25 kg TNTeq|
|Armour penetration||1,400 mm|
With 6.25 kg TNT equivalent of explosive in the tandem warhead, the AKD-10 can cause overpressure damage on light vehicles or alternatively jet stream with shrapnel that cause damage to crew or components.
Comparison with analogues
- AGM-114B Hellfire and AGM-114K Hellfire II: The Hellfire family has better speed and explosive equivalent while having lesser range and booster time than AKD-10
- PARS 3 LR: Outperformed by AKD-10 at all aspects, especially explosive content
- 9M120 Ataka : Outperformed by AKD-10 other than the speed
- 9K127 Vikhr: Shared same firing range while having lesser penetration
- 9M123 Khrizantema : Sharing similar explosive equivalent while outranged by AKD-10
Usage in battles
The AKD-10 is a high-penetrating AGM for PLAGF in-game and also the weapon of choice for Z-10, the guidance method of the missile also makes it very similar to the AGM-114 with top-down attack capabilities; but with better booster time during flight. It might not have as much explosive contents than some of its NATO counterparts to cause additional damage to enemy vehicles, but it is more than enough to blast through even the toughest MBT's UFP armour. Due to the relatively low speed of the missile (barely supersonic) and the common feature of top-down missiles with dead zone at close range, it is better to utilize the missile at longer distance away from battlefield while keeping itself in the blindspots of SPAA and interceptors: this will make the life much easier for Z-10. If the skies are clear enough for close range combats, keeping at least 1.5 km from the target and nose-down as much as possible to compensate for the trajectory.
Pros and cons
- Long firing range (up to 10 km, like 9K127)
- Has a longer booster time than most top-down missiles
- Very high penetration
- Slower flight speed than most helicopter-borne AGMs
- Relative low explosive mass
Due to the undisclosed information on the development of the missile, there were very few information on how was the idea for top-down attack ATGMs sprung out for the PLAGF; the development of AKD-10 would likely be the result of Gulf War where US Army's Apaches unleashed havoc upon the Iraqi forces with AGM-114 Hellfire and the need for a compatible ATGM for the Project 941 (later Z-10). The missile was likely tested during early 2000s and test-mounted on the first prototype of Z-10. During an UAV exhibition in June 2010, NORINCO Institute 203 (Xi'an Modern Control Institute of Technology; 西安现代控制技术研究所) publicly shown a new missile dubbed Blue Arrow 7 (BA-7) during the exhibition and implied the domestic version of a certain model of missile has been in service with PLAGF Aviation Corps, later confirmed to be AKD-10 from photo comparisons and export catalogues. 
The missile was also served as the basis of its lightweight version: AKD-9 and Blue Arrow 9 (BA-9). BA-7 has been export to Middle East and North African countries with some scores over the skies of Libya by UAE. Due to its lack in performance in late 2010s, these missiles were planned to be replaced by more competent CM-502KG missiles.
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- ↑ https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/china/akd-10.htm
- ↑ Chen, Guangwen. “The Steel Current Blockade’- Chinese New Blue Arrow 7 Heavy ATGM.” Modern Weaponry , vol. 8, Institute 201, Beijing, 2010, pp. 22–24.
- ↑ https://twitter.com/BenDoBrown/status/1299357652485578757?lang=en