Long-range anti-tank punch: developed to defeat tanks, long-range anti-tank guided weapons are more often used to attack bunkers, buildings and technical infrastructure.
First used in combat in Vietnam in 1972 the Raytheon Tow is the primary long-range anti-armour missile in service with the US Army, the US Marine Corps and the forces of 43 allied nations. It is integrated on more than 15,000 ground, vehicle and helicopter platforms. Under present plans new generations of Tow missiles will remain in US service beyond 2025. The US Army employs the Tow across its force structure; mounted on the tracked M2/M3 Bradley fighting vehicles of the heavy force, the 8 x 8 M1134 Stryker of the medium force and the Hummer of the light force, while the marines use the Tow on their AH-1W/Z attack helicopter, LAV-AT vehicle and Hummers. The army has bought 149,546 Tow missiles to date and, during FY08, the second year of the present three-year contract, the service will receive a further 2255 Tow missiles. Production for the army is scheduled to continue at least until fiscal year 2013.
The US Department of Defense has funded several initiatives to ensure the Tow system remains effective. Raytheon's Improved Target Acquisition System (Itas) is being fielded on all army and marine Hummer/Tow platforms as well as the M1134 Stryker, and the system has been bought by several export customers. The army is scheduled to complete the $1.355 billion Itas acquisition programme in FY11 with the fielding of the last of 1184 systems. The Itas includes a second-generation flir, an eye-safe laser rangefinder, aided target tracking, automatic boresighting and embedded training. The original 127 mm BGM-71A missile has been joined over the years by the BGM-71D Improved Tow with standoff probe, 152 mm BGM-71D Tow 2, the tandem warhead BGM-71E Tow 2A and the top-attack BGM-71F Tow 2B. The new Tow Bunker Buster uses a high-explosive-filled titanium chisel-point warhead that can breach a 20-cm-thick, double reinforced concrete wall; in common with other Tow warheads it is produced by Aerojet of Sacramento, California. The first production contract for the Tow Bunker Buster was awarded in June 2005 to equip the army's Stryker brigades.
The new Tow 2B Aero is fitted with a more aerodynamic nose and a longer wire to increase the missile's range from 3750 to 4500 metres. The wireless version of the Tow is set to enter production after the US Army Aviation and Missile Command awarded Raytheon a $ 163.2 million contract, with five one-year options, in 2006 to supply Tow 2B Aero and Tow 2B Aero Gen 2 missiles in radio frequency configuration. With a range of 4500 metres the RF Tow missile has a radio transmitter fitted to the missile case and a receiver in the missile. Tow 2A, Tow 2B and Tow Bunker Buster missiles can be upgraded to the RF configuration and used with existing Tow launchers since no launcher modifications are required.
Although the Raytheon-Lockheed Martin Javelin Joint Venture developed the Javelin to meet the US Army and US Marine Corps requirement for a lightweight man-portable fire-and-forget anti-armour missile it is expected that the army will eventually fund an effort to extend the weapon's maximum range from 2500 to 4000 metres. Over 20,000 missiles and 3000 Command Launch Units have been produced for the army, the marines and export customers in Australia, Bahrain, the Czech Republic, Ireland, Jordan, Lithuania, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Taiwan and Britain. Extending the Javelin's range would be welcome as for several of these customers, including the British Army, the weapon is now the longest-range ground-launched anti-armour missile they field.
Developed as the principle armament for the US Army's Boeing AH-64 Apache attack helicopter, the Lockheed Martin Hellfire I/II missile is in service with 17 forces around the globe; primarily in the helicopter-launched configuration. The Hellfire II can be fired in lock-on-before-launch or lock-on-after-launch modes and reaches its maximum range of eight km in 37 seconds. Lockheed Martin is now marketing the Hellfire II AGM-114N missile with a thermobaric metal augmented-charge warhead, which was developed in response to an urgent requirement from the US Marine Corps in 2002 for a Hellfire II missile to attack multi-room structures and similar targets.
The recently completed 36-month advanced technology demonstration (ATD) of Lockheed Martin's Compact Kinetic Energy Missile (Ckem) gives an indication of what the US Army is seeking to replace the Tow. The Ckem leverages technology from the cancelled Line-of-Sight Anti-Tank (Losat) project, which was to provide the army's fight forces with a missile that could kill any tank. The 45-kg Ckem travels at a speed of Mach 6 to deliver four times the energy of a 120mm tank round to a maximum range of eight km. In the final test of the programme, conducted on 20 February, a Ckem launched from a Hummer penetrated 'enhanced' reactive armour on a T-72 tank at a range of 3400 metres.
Several possible applications for a Ckem derivative have been proposed, including a Hummer launcher to equip the army's light brigades, a replacement for the Tow on the M1134 and within the Future Combat System programme as armament for Lockheed Martin's Mule (Multifunction Utility/Logistics Equipment) unmanned ground vehicle.
Since 1974 MBDA has produced more than 10,000 firing posts and 360,000 Milan medium-range missiles for no fewer than 43 customers, making it the only European weapon of its kind able to match the export success of its American rivals. The Milan is being given a new lease on life, as in February 2007 MBDA conducted six successful launches of its new Milan ER (Extended Response) missile using the new ADT (ADvanced Technologies) firing post at the French Delegation Generale pour l'Armement's Etablissement Technique de Bourges in central France. The DGA is responsible for supervising this latest phase of Milan development under the terms of an agreement between the French and German governments. The Milan ER and ADT were developed to ensure MBDA remains competitive in the lucrative anti-armour missile market following the demise of the medium-range Trigat project, originally conceived as the replacement for the Milan in British, French and German service. The latest generation of the Milan retains the weapon's wire-guidance system but extends the range from 1950 metres to 3000. The Milan ER features a 115-mm warhead that was designed by Ruag and is able to penetrate more than 1.1 metres of armour protected by explosive reactive armour or to punch through 2.5 metres of concrete. The ADT firing post is fully digital and offers built-in test facilities, improved maintenance, new training tools and geopositioning. It incorporates a thermal imager that enables targets to be tracked and engaged in almost all weather conditions while, interestingly, a digital video input/output system enables the launcher to be remotely operated.
The ADT is backwards compatible, enabling existing Milan users to exhaust their stocks of Milan 2 and 3 missiles. In mid-January MBDA announced that it had received an 18 million [euro] order from South Africa for Milan 3 missiles, Milan ADT firing posts and simulators; making it the first export country for the ADT firing post. The French Army plans to evaluate the Milan ER, the Spike and the Javelin during 2007-08 to meet a requirement for 500 launchers and 3000 missiles to replace its current Milans from 2010. The competition is of critical importance to MBDA and the company, appreciating the tactical advantages of fire-and-forget systems such as the Javelin and Spike in certain tactical situations, is suggesting that the Milan ER be acquired as a complement for these more expensive systems.
MBDA and Rheinmetall Defence Electronics have developed the Multi Purpose Turret System, which was unveiled at Eurosatory 2006 mounted on a Panhard General Defence 4 x 4 VBR light armoured vehicle and was recently displayed at Idex mounted on a Bin Jabr Group 4 x 4 Nimr vehicle.
MBDA's Hot long-range missile, which is comparable to the Tow in its mode operation, is in service with at least twelve countries mounted on either helicopters or ground vehicles. The French Army has 135 Renault 4 x 4 Vabs fitted with a four-round Hot launcher while the German Army equipped 316 Jagdpanzer Jaguar 1 tank destroyers with the missile. The Hot 2, introduced in 1986, has a maximum range of four kilometres while the newer Hot 3, which features a tandem warhead, will be initially arming the French and German armies' Eurocopter Tiger attack helicopter.
The fire-and-forget long-range variant of the Trigat, developed as a replacement for the Hot, achieved a significant milestone on 30 June 2006 when Germany's BWB (Bundesamt fur Wehrtechnik und Beschaffung) defence procurement agency signed a production contract with German MBDA subsidiary LFK and Diehl BGT Defence, which developed the missile's passive infrared target seeker. The contract calls for Parsys, a 50:50 joint venture between the two companies, to deliver 680 missiles, worth approximately 380 million [euro], by 2014. Under the local designation Pars 3 LR these will arm the German Army's 80 Tigers, giving them the ability to engage targets to a maximum range of 6000 metres.
The defence procurement agencies of France, Sweden and Britain agreed in 2005 to collaborate on a technology development programme for the Future Surface Combat Missiles (FSCM), also referred to as the European Modular Missile project. This is intended to be a modular weapon for launch from a variety of air, ground and naval platforms, in both line-of-sight and non-line-of-sight modes. Following a three-year technology development programme it is anticipated the project will move into the full development phase leading to an in-service date of about 2015. MBDA and Saab Bofors Dynamics agreed in mid-2006 to form a partnership for the FSCM project. This will leverage work that MBDA has been doing since 2002 on the Missile de Combat Terrestre (MCT) technology demonstration programme for the DGA. Proposed MCT configurations include rocket-powered medium-and long-range variants and a turbojet-powered extended-range weapon with a maximum range of up to 100 km. All variants would share common modules.
The new Denel Aerospace Systems Armed Long Range Reconnaissance Turret (ALRRT) was shown mounted on a French Panhard 4 x 4 VBL at Idex 2007 in March. The unmanned turret has two pairs of Denel Ingwe ('Leopard') laser beam-riding missiles in the ready-to-launch position with a stabilised day/night system mounted between them. The ALRRT is fully stabilised, enabling a gunner in a moving vehicle to engage stationary and moving targets.
The Ingwe was initially developed to meet the requirement of the South African National Defence Force for a long-range missile that could be launched from helicopters and ground platforms such as the Ratel wheeled infantry fighting vehicle. The Ingwe missile weighs 28.5 kg and has a maximum range in excess of 5000 metres when launched from a helicopter. A tripod launcher, developed by Denel Optronics, was introduced in 2003. It weighs 16 kg and can be fitted with a 14-kg remote control unit. The missile's guidance unit incorporates a video camera for use by day and a thermal imager. Two warheads are currently available: a tandem warhead that is capable of penetrating 1000 mm of steel protected by explosive reactive armour and a blast enhanced warhead to defeat bunkers and similar targets.
As Armada went to press Denel Land Systems was expected to receive a contract to produce 269 Hoefysters based on the Patria Vehicles Armoured Modular Vehicle for the South African Army. One of the five Hoefyster variants will be an ATGW vehicle with four ready-to-launch Ingwe missiles.
Rafael Armament Development Authority and its Spanish partner General Dynamics Santa Barbara Systemas began 2007 announcing the reception of a $ 400+ million contract from the Spanish Army to supply 2600 Spike-LR missiles and 260 launchers. Rafael developed the Spike family under contract to the Israeli Ministry of Defence. The Spike range consists of the 800-metre Spike-SR, the 2500-metre Spike-MR (previously known as the Gill), 4000-metre Spike-LR and the 8000-metre range Spike-ER (previously known as NTD Dandy), to replace its US-supplied 1000-metre range Dragon and Tow missiles. The fire-and-forget Spike-MR and Spike-LR weapons share the same launcher and missile, although the Spike-LR can also be supplied with a two-way fibre-optic datalink.
According to Rafael more than $ one billion worth of Spikes have already been sold to Israel, The Netherlands, Poland, Italy, Romania, Finland, Singapore, the Czech Republic and unspecified customers in South America and elsewhere. The Czech Republic's 2006 order of 234 Steyr-Daimler-Puch 8 x 8 Pandur IIs includes 78 vehicles that will be fitted with Rafael's RCWS 30 turret, which is armed with an ATK Mk 44 30 mm Bushmaster cannon, a 7.62-mm machine gun and a twin Spike-LR launcher. In mid-2006 the Spike-ER was cleared for use on the Tiger following firing trials in Spain, during which each of the four missiles launched struck their targets. The Spike-ER is already mounted on IDF helicopters and Romanian Puma helicopters that have been modernised with the assistance of Israeli industry.
The fire-and-forget Nag (Cobra) is only the anti-tank system among the five missiles developed for Indian's Integrated Guided Missile Development Program under prime contractor Bharat Dynamics and working with the Defence Research and Development Organisation. The Indian Army variant is designed to be launched from the Nag Missile Carrier (Namica), a locally modified version of Russia's BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicle that carries four ready-to-launch missiles in a mast-mounted observation/ launch unit. The 42-kg missile carries an eight-kg tandem top-attack warhead to a maximum range of four km. Although low-rate production reportedly began in 2000 the first trial firing of a missile with a live warhead did not take place until mid-March 2005. The Indian Ministry of Defence announced in November 2006 that the 'probable date of completion' of the Nag, originally planned for July 1995, has been extended to December 2007. At about the turn of the millennium, IAI's MBT division started to market its Lahat anti-armour round. Laser-guided, this 104.5 mm-diameter missile can be fired from a main battle tank barrel (it is then enclosed in a tank round-like case to make it compatible with either 105 or 120 mm bores), or from helicopter- and light vehicle-mounted launching tubes from which they are launched very much like recoil-less guns. The round carries a gimballed seeker which steers it towards a target that can be illuminated by a forward observer on the ground, for instance. Armed with a tandem warhead, the 13-kilo Lahat is able to penetrate explosive armour and 800 mm of rolled homogeneous armour behind it. Typically, the Lahat has a range of 8000 metres when launched from the ground or 13,000 metres from a helicopter. The weapon was ordered into production in 2005.
During the Summer 2006 Lebanon conflict the Israeli forces encountered Hezbollah fighters armed with various Russian missiles including the KBP Kornet-E 9P133, which was first fielded by the Russian Army in the early 1990s. The laser beam-riding Kornet E has a maximum range of 5500 metres by day and up to 3500 metres at night when the 1PN79-1 thermal sight is fitted. Two warheads are available: the 9M113-1 missile is equipped with a 152-mm tandem warhead. This is capable of defeating up to 1.2 metres of armour protected by ERA and the 9M113F-1 thermobaric explosive blast warhead is designed for use against troops in the open, soft-skin vehicles and structures. The tripod launcher with day sight weighs 26 kg and the missile in its sealed launch container weighs 29 kg. A twin-launcher has been developed for use on armoured vehicles such as the BMP-3 IFV.
The Kornet was developed as a replacement for the wire-guided 9K113 Konkurs and Konkurs-M, although the earlier weapon is still in production in Russia as well as in Bulgaria, India, Iran and Slovakia. The 135-mm Heat warhead of the Konkurs is capable of penetrating up to 800 mm of armour while the tandem warhead Konkurs-M can punch through up to 800 mm of armour after first penetrating ERA. The range of the Konkurs-M is from 75 to 4000 metres.
A rival to Russian missiles in the export market is the Chinese Red Arrow 8 family marketed by Norinco in China. The Red Arrow 8 can be launched from a tripod or mounted on a vehicle. The 3000-metre range Red Arrow 8A has a single Heat warhead, the 8C has a tandem warhead, the 4000-metre 8E has a tandem Heat warhead while the 8F has a warhead optimised for use against field fortifications with the first Heat warhead followed by an HE warhead. The newer Red Arrow 9 is being marketed in two variants, both with a maximum range of 5000 metres: the 9A uses a millimetre wave command guidance system while the 9B 'rides' a laser beam to its target. Besides the People's Liberation Army the Red Arrow is in service in Chile and Pakistan where a local model is produced.
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|Date:||Jun 1, 2007|
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