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Top 5 best anti-tank missile systems in the world

PANAGYURISHTE, (BM) – The creation and production of new anti-tank missile systems (ATGM) in the world has been going on for half a century. During this period of time, due to its ease of operation and relatively low cost, ATGMs have become the most massive and demanded type of high-precision weapons.

For example, only the ATGM of the American TOW family has produced about 700,000 units in the world, and the production of their latest modifications is still ongoing.

Much can be said and written on the subject of anti-tank missile systems. Let’s start with our version of the best and most effective anti-tank missile systems in the world.

# 5 – Milan ER by MBDA, Frnace

Top 5 best anti-tank missile systems in the world
Photo credit: Defense News

The Milan complex was developed on the basis of the requirements of the armed forces of Germany and France and taking into account the general requirements of the NATO command for weapons of this purpose.

As a result, the international association “Euromissile” developed a system that, due to its high performance characteristics, became the most widespread (after the ATGM “TOW”) of all anti-tank missiles used in various countries. ATGM “Milan” is in service with the ground forces of 40 countries, including Germany, France and other NATO countries.

According to the modernization program of ATGM “Milan”, which was put into service in 1974, the following basic requirements were set:

  • increasing the effectiveness of the missile warhead against new types of armor;
  • increasing the noise immunity of the guidance system;
  • ensuring the compatibility of the improved missile with the launcher and the thermal imaging sight without modification;
  • maintaining the same range.

As a result, samples of improved missiles were created, which received the designation “Milan-2”. Serial production of these missiles began in 1984 and in 1985 began delivering them to the armed forces of Germany and France.

# 4 – 9M133M Kornet-M, Russia

Top 5 best anti-tank missile systems in the world
Photo credit: Wikipedia

It should be borne in mind that the abbreviation ATGM itself no longer reflects the tasks that can be solved with the help of this weapon. Originally created to combat tanks, today these weapons are effectively used to destroy a whole range of other small targets: unarmored and lightly armored vehicles, manpower, various kinds of fortifications, elements of enemy infrastructure. The latest domestic development of the Kornet-EM ATGM can also fight against enemy air targets.

The world premiere of the Kornet-D complex (Kornet-EM is the export name) took place at the Indian exhibition DEFEXPO-2012, which takes place from March 29 to April 2. Here, among other types of Russian weapons, the new Kornet-EM anti-tank system based on the Tiger armored vehicle was presented. Earlier, this development of Russian gunsmiths was presented at the international Moscow air show MAKS-2011.

Complex “Kornet-EM” uses 8 missiles completely ready to fire, full ammunition of the complex is 16 missiles. Salvo fire at two targets significantly increases the fire performance and rate of fire of the complex. The complex is capable of firing all existing missiles of the Kornet-E family.

The complex allows you to implement modern requirements for a promising anti-tank system, using advanced and, at the same time, relatively inexpensive technical solutions that provide it with a number of completely new qualities.

The technical vision used in the Kornet-EM complex together with the automatic target tracking allows realizing the principle of “fire and forget”. Having completely excluded a person from the ATGM guidance process and up to 5 times increasing the accuracy of target tracking in conditions of real combat use, as well as ensuring a high probability of hitting a target in the entire range of the complex’s application ranges.

The range of destruction of targets by the Kornet-EM complex is 2 times higher than the range of destruction of the version of the Kornet-E ATGM. The ability to destroy targets in an automatic mode reduces the psychophysical load on the operators of the complex, the requirements for their qualifications and reduces the time for their training.

# 3 – HJ-12, China

Algeria bought from China third generation HJ-12 anti-tank systems
Photo credit: Wikipedia

According to the manufacturer, the missile of the HJ-12 complex is equipped with a type IIR homing head with an uncooled photodetector. It is argued that such a system allows the use of ATGMs at any time of the day. There is information about the creation of a second type of rocket, intended for use exclusively in daytime and equipped with a television seeker.

The guided missile has a typical appearance for modern weapons of this class. The cylindrical body of large elongation has a hemispherical head fairing, made transparent to ensure the operation of the seeker, and is also equipped with four X-shaped wings and four rudders of a similar design. The planes unfold after launch.

Like the American Javelin complex, the Chinese-designed rocket is supplied in cylindrical transport and launch containers, the end caps of which are equipped with characteristic large rings of soft material.

These parts are designed to protect the TPK with a missile from impacts when falling. At the request of the customer, the complex can be supplied in an infantry version (TPK and a block of equipment) or in a version for installation on equipment. In the latter case, the ATGM includes a system for mounting equipment on the base machine.

The hardware unit attached to the transport and launch container contains the equipment necessary to search for a target and interact with the missile electronics. For ease of use, it is equipped with two handles, one of which has buttons for operating the system.

It is assumed that with the help of the existing thermal imager, the operator of the anti-tank complex must find the target and direct an aiming mark at it, after which he should turn on auto-tracking. The rocket’s automation “remembers” the target’s image and is ready to launch.

At the command of the operator, the rocket is ejected from the TPK, turns on the sustainer solid-propellant engine and starts flying towards the target. For the initial acceleration of the rocket, a separate propellant charge is used.

# 2 – Spike Series, Israel

The German Army Has Finalized Its Annual Training in Firing of SPIKE LR ATGM Missile
Photo credit: Rafael

The Spike-ER rocket is made according to the normal aerodynamic configuration (see photo) with aerodynamic surfaces that open after the start.

The thermal imaging homing head is located on a double gimbal in the nose of the rocket, behind it there is an electronics unit and a precharge of a tandem cumulative warhead (warhead), behind which is a sustainer solid-propellant engine. The recessed oblique nozzles of the main engine are located between the wings (see photo © Tomasz Szulc).

In the central part of the body there is a rechargeable battery and a gyroscope, behind which is the main charge of the warhead with automatic cocking and a fuse. Folding rudders with steering drives and a starting motor are located in the tail of the rocket.

Armor penetration of a tandem cumulative warhead – 1000 mm of homogeneous armor. To destroy fortifications and buildings, Spike-ER can be equipped with a high-explosive-penetrating warhead PBF (Penetration, Blast and Fragmentation), which is capable of penetrating concrete walls, and then exploding indoors, causing maximum damage to the target.

The Spike-ER missile has a combined guidance system, including an uncooled thermal / television seeker type IIR, an inertial system and a two-way radio data channel. This makes it possible to implement a wide range of combat applications, including “fire and forget”, target acquisition and retargeting after launch, command guidance and implementation of complex flight trajectories, firing at an invisible target from a closed position, identifying and hitting targets in the most vulnerable parts.

# 1 – Javelin FGM-148, USA

Lithuania Received Additional Missiles for Its Javelin Anti-Tank Defence Systems
A soldier launches a FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank missile, Javelin’s backblast is seen | Photo credit: Sgt Mauricio Campino, USMC via Wikipedia

ATGM Javelin FGM-148 – 3rd generation anti-tank complex. It works on the principle of fire and forget. It is enough for the operator to aim and launch the rocket, then he can change the position, the rocket itself attacks the target.

The firing process is performed in the following order of guidance:

  • The operator makes identification and target lock.
  • Pressing the button again makes the approach to the target
  • After aiming the crosshair and capturing the Rocket Homing Head (GOS), the rocket is launched.

The Javelin FGM-148 missile has two types of attack:

  • at an angle of 45 degrees, from above into the less protected upper part of the tank
  • direct attack in the horizontal plane.

Rocket attack mode from above is set in the complex by default. In some cases, to attack fortified positions, it is advisable to switch to the horizontal attack mode.

The rocket starts from the installation using the starting engine, then the main engine is turned on and the altitude climbs, depending on the rocket mode: 50 or 150 meters.

The defeat of the tank occurs with a cumulative projectile and a high-explosive action of exactly 2 parts of the rocket. (1 part – cumulative, 2 part – high-explosive).

Since the attack falls on the upper part of the tank, the destruction of the crew by secondary fragments from the armor will not be enough (the thickness of the armor is small). Manpower is hit by a wave of overpressure of several tens of atmospheres when 2 parts of a rocket shell are detonated.

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Read more: Will the Russian T-14 Armata tank survive after meeting the Javelin anti-tank missile?

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