The AKD-9, also known as the Blue Arrow 9 for export purposes, is a Chinese laser-guided air-to-ground missile.
The AKD-9 provides a relatively long range option to strike enemy vehicles with accuracy and sufficient damage, while players will have to get used to its relatively slow velocity and its high trajectory - a double-edge sword, enabling high-angle attacks against enemy armour but making it impossible to hit closer targets.
Vehicles equipped with this weapon
Blue Arrow 9
|Missile guidance time
|2.46 kg TNTeq
With a tandem warhead and explosive filler, the AKD-9 can do both overpressure damage to open-topped or lightly-armoured vehicles and lethal damage against vehicle crews with its jet stream and spalling. Heavier armoured vehicles will still be damaged by these high penetration missiles, but may need a follow-up missile. The AKD-9 missile will make a perfect match with players who manually aim for vehicles weak spots such as ammunition and depending on the angle of attack, the crew.
Comparison with analogues
The AKD-9 and it's export counterpart the BA-9 share all major characteristics. In turn that means while Chinese 10.7 Pilots can experience this missile as early as the Z-9WA. It also means that it's performance may be off-putting, if they are used to helicopter borne ATGMs like AGM-114, 9M120 or 9M127. Compared to these it performs about 100-200m/s slower and has a lighter warhead by roughly half. However, players used to much more sluggish missiles like TOW and TOW-2, as well as the previous HJ-8 variants, will be delighted with the performance and manoeuvrability increase of a slightly faster top angle missile.
Usage in battles
Thanks to its light weight, even a scout helicopter like the Z-19 can carry up to 8 AKD-9s. The tandem warhead grants the capability to knock out tanks' composite/ERA protection given it does not hit the turret front of tanks. If players do not feel confident in taking the enemy out in one hit, depending on the carrier, fire multiple missiles in a short consecutive volley to ensure the target's destruction. Its trajectory is high enough to make sure most shots land from a high angle of attack, meaning that closer targets at around 1.5 km will have a higher chance to survive as the missile doesn't have enough time to build an angle of attack. Since AAMs might not have a safe range to lock onto enemy helicopters with heat suppression systems, players can also opt for the AKD-9 as a long-range alternative to AAMs against careless hovering helicopters.
Pros and cons
- Accelerates straight forward first, so it has a slight top-down trajectory
- Sufficient 6 km range to hit enemies from safer distance
- Excellent penetration
- Not able to engage targets at close range
- Light explosive mass compared to other AGMs
- Slower compared to common analogues like AGM-114B Hellfire and 9M120 Ataka
AKD-9's development traces back to the PLAGF's AKD-10 ATGM. Since the AKD-10 was too heavy for helicopters like the Mi-171Sh and the Z-9W, NORINCO downscaled it at the cost of a shorter range and lower penetration. The result was the AKD-9 and it was widely seen on the Z-9W as well as the Z-10. The BA 9 is the export version of the AKD-9 and was first seen at the 2016 Zhuhai Airshow along with the even lighter BA 7 for UCAVs.
The BA 9 currently has no overseas customers and its domestic version is now depleting its stock due to inferior performance. Both AKD-9 and 10 are being replaced by new CM-502 KG AGMs.
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