Four Chinese AFT-9 wheeled tank destroyer vehicles on parade.
Source: Chinese internet - © Copyright lies with original owner
The AFT-9 is a modern tank destroyer of Chinese origin. The AFT-9 mates a cost-effective vehicle platform with powerful anti-tank missiles. Various earlier designs were not adopted for service since they either lacked range of firepower.
The AFT-9 is based on the WZ-550 4x4 chassis. As such it shares many automotive components with other vehicles in Chinese military service. The crew of three consists of a commander, driver and gunner. The AFT-9 has the crew compartment in the front, the engine center left and the retractable missile launcher at the rear. The optical and guidance systems are located in the launcher, with two HJ-9 missiles on both sides.
The armament of the AFT-9 consists of the capable HJ-9 anti-tank guided missile. Four missiles are ready to launch and an additional eight missiles can be carried inside. The HEAT warhead of the HJ-9 can penetrate an equivalent of 1.200mm RHA, allowing the AFT-9 to engage modern MBTs. The optical tracker allows for a single missile at a time to be fired out to a maximum range of 5 km. The minimum engagement range is quoted as 100 meters. Variants of the HJ-9 missile are geared for use against bunkers and fortifications. There is no secondary armament.
The wheeled chassis allows for good mobility on roads, with a maximum speed of up to 95 km/h and a range of 600 km. The turbo-charged diesel engine provides up to 320 hp. The large wheels and 4x4 drive provide a reasonable cross country mobility in all but the most difficult terrain. The AFT-9 is fully amphibious and can cross calm water obstacles.
The mobility of the platform and the stand-off range of the missiles are the main factors that determine the surviveability of the AFT-9. Additionally, the steel hull protects the crew from small arms fire and shell splinters. The HJ-9 missiles are launched from under armor protection. Collective NBC protection is present on the vehicle. Smoke grenade launchers are fitted for self-defense.
The AFT-9 is used by the People's Liberation Army of China and is the main tank destroyer vehicle currently in production. It is available for export. However, many nations that acquire Chinese weapon systems don't need the ability to engage the most modern MBTs, and they are more likely to acquire less expensive alternatives.
AFT-9 is based on the WZ550 4x4 chassis. This chassis is a smaller variant of the WZ551 6x6 chassis which is used for a range of vehicles, including the ZSL92 infantry fighting vehicle.
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