Jai Hind future warriors today we are going to discuss about the Javelin Anti-Tank Missiles which have been hailed so much so that there is a certain meme on social media dubbed “Saint Javelin,” protector of Ukraine, where she brandishes one of the missiles under a halo in the yellow and blue of the Ukrainian flag, in praise of the support provided by the USA to Ukraine in its fight against Russian Aggression.
Why in News?
- the Ukrainians have already received some 17,000 anti-tank weapons from various Western countries, including several hundred Javelin launchers, and Washington announced new military aid totalling $200 million and including the anti-tank weapon.
- Ukrainian forces have also received thousands of other anti-tank weapons, including British NLAWs, Swedish-made AT4s and Carl-Gustavs, German Panzerfausts and Spanish Instalaza C90s.
History of Javelin
- The Javelin was jointly designed by Texas Instruments (now Raytheon missiles systems) and Martin Marietta (now Lockheed Martin). In 1991 the first test flight of the Javelin succeeded. In 1994 first firing test was successful and missile hit the target at a range of 2 000 m. In 1995 mass production of the FGM-148 Javelin began and in 1996 it was delivered to the US Army and US Marine Corps. The Javelin has been exported to about 20 countries including Australia, France and United Kingdom. It was widely used during the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. In Iraq it destroyed several T-55, Type 69 and Asad Babil (T-72) tanks and military trucks. In Afghanistan it was successfully used against Taliban bunkers and fortifications.
- The Javelin Anti-Tank missile was first used by US Army during the Iraq War (2003) even though it was deployed in 1996. The missiles had reportedly destroyed two T-55 tanks during the Iraq operation. It was also used in combat operations in Afghanistan and Syria.
- Lighter than other anti-tank systems that require a tripod, the Javelin can be launched from a soldier’s shoulder. The shooter can take cover even before the missile hits its target.
- Technology Involved:
- Infrared Guidance System: The US man-portable anti-tank missile with automatic infrared guidance system is a “fire and forget” weapon. It has an automatic self-guidance system.
- The Javelin’s high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) warhead can defeat modern tanks by attacking them from above.
Working of Javelin Anti–Tank Missile
- Equipped with two explosive charges, it can pierce the most sophisticated tanks in the world, and in particular the Russian T-90, whose own explosive armor reacts to the impact of a projectile in order to reduce or even stop it penetrating the tank.
- The first charge of the Javelin explodes on contact with the tank, and it then releases a second, more powerful charge, which pierces the armor.
- With a range of 2,500 meters (yards), it can be used in direct attack mode to destroy a target or, if fired upwards, to shoot down a low-flying aircraft such as a helicopter.
- But it can also be used in indirect attack mode, from above: the missile rises up to 160 meters in altitude and then falls vertically on to its target, like the javelins of the ancient Roman legionaries.
- It is this trajectory from above that makes it such a formidable weapon against tanks, because the vehicles’ entry hatches are on the top side, and that is where they are most vulnerable.
- The projectile is ejected a few meters from the launcher before the propulsion system kicks in, which allows a soldier to be less easy to spot and even allows it to be used from inside a building.
- A “fire and forget” type weapon, the target can be locked in before firing and the missile is fully self-guided.
- And unlike other missiles, which are generally disposable after use, the Javelin has a fire control unit that is equipped with GPS and an infrared camera with the ability to zoom in close on a target, and which is reusable any number of times.
- It is on this unit that the disposable tube housing the missile is attached.
- The fire command unit is valuable because “you can use it without ammunitions, to track and look” at the enemy.
Manufacturer and Cost
- Manufactured by US weapons manufacturers Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, the Javelin costs $178,000, including the launch system and missile, according to the Pentagon’s 2021 budget.
- Each replacement missile costs around $78,000.
Dangerous Against Russia
Equipped with two explosive charges, it can pierce the most sophisticated tanks in the world, and in particular the Russian T-90, whose own explosive armor reacts to the impact of a projectile in order to reduce or even stop it penetrating the tank.
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