Debates are underway to clarify what weapon was used to hit an Iraqi army tank in the country’s Kirkuk province. In an article published by the website, War is Boring, US expert Robert Beckhusen has claimed that the M1A1 Abrams tank could be obliterated by Kurdish Peshmerga fighters using a Chinese-made HJ-8 “Red Arrow” anti-tank missile.

Earlier, Peshmerga published a video showing a burnt-out tank which the Iraqi military suggested could have been destroyed with a German-made wire-guided MILAN anti-tank missile launcher.

However, neither Peshmerga nor the German Defense Ministry confirmed this information.

As for the HJ-8, Beckhusen described it as “an older missile, which was first produced in China in the 1970s and which is roughly equivalent to the US-made [tube-launched optically-tracked wire-guided] TOW missile.”

To destroy the Iraqi tank, Peshmerga could use the modern version of the HJ-8: the HJ-8E, which is capable of piercing through the Abrams M-1A1’s “add-on explosive reactive armor tiles, although Iraq’s M-1 Abrams tanks also appear to lack this additional defensive capability,” according to Beckhusen.

He recalled a previous video with Peshmerga forces using the HJ-8 systems installed on their Humvees, something that confirms the suggestion that it was the HJ-8E system which was used by Peshmerga to take out the Iraqi tank.

After the September 25 independence referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan, Baghdad launched a military operation in order to gain control over disputed territories, including those in Kirkuk province, an oil-rich region which followed Iraqi Kurdistan’s decision to strive for separation.

Last week, Iraqi troops regained control over a number of military and transport facilities in Kirkuk province, also taking the town of Sinjar and the dam near the city of Mosul without any resistance from Kurdish Peshmerga paramilitaries.