China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) has expanded its Tian Lei (Sky Thunder) family of precision guided missiles with the ground-based short-range Tian Lei-4 (TL-4) anti-tank guided missile (ATGM).
Developed by the 41st Institute of CASC’s 4th Academy – also known as the Academy of Aerospace Solid Propulsion Technology – based in the provincial capital of Xi’an in the northwestern Shaanxi province, the TL-4 missile has a launch weight of 24 kg with an overall diameter and length of 140 mm and 1.09 m respectively.
The solid-propellant missile is housed in a protective launch canister that is 1.2 m long, 174 mm wide, and 178 mm high for launch and transport, with an all-up weight of 28.5 kg. CASC is offering the missile with a range of 4.3 kg warheads to suit mission requirements, with currently available options including high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT), high explosive fragmentation (HE-FRAG) and high-explosive squash head (HESH) natures.
The TL-4 is designed to engage static and moving targets at ranges between 500 m and 6,000 m, and features a dual-mode seeker comprising an inertial measurement unit (IMU) combined with TV guidance using CCD or CMOS optics, as well as an infrared (IR) guidance mode. A company official told Jane’s that the missile can be programmed to perform direct or top attack, and offers lock-on before launch (LOBL) and lock-on after launch (LOAL) firing modes with manual targeting supported by the IMU+TV seeker and a radio frequency (RF) datalink. However, the missile’s IR mode also enables fire-and-forget capability if desired.
The missile can be controlled using a 30 kg portable guidance unit, which is attached to the launch canister before an engagement and incorporates daylight and thermal channels with a detection range of 6.5 km and 6 km respectively.
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