Ukrainian ‘Omega’ military unit mounts FGM-148 Javelin on UGV

A successful mounting and testing of an Unmanned Ground Vehicle [UGV] equipped with a US-supplied FGM-148 Javelin ATGM has been reported by the Ukrainian Front. The news broke through the social platform X [previously known as Twitter]. The Ukrainian Front praises the targeting precision and effective above-strike of the mounted Javelin missile. 

US 2nd SBCT fired Javelin missile from Stryker's roof-mounted CROWS-J
Photo: Twitter

The actual type of unmanned ground vehicle used for the launch, however, remains undisclosed. Furthermore, the photograph shared to support the claim does not do justice to it nor reveal the identity of the launch vehicle. alleges that the photo actually dates back four years ago. It was part of a video filmed by Lockheed Martin/Raytheon, capturing the integration and tests.

Let’s rewind to June 12, 2019. On this day, the Lockheed Martin/Raytheon Javelin Joint Venture showcased the Kongsberg M153 Protector Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station II [CROWS II] mounted on a tracked unmanned Titan vehicle. The main feature? It was equipped with an FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank guided missile [ATGM], demonstrating its firepower capabilities. 

Ukrainian 'Omega' military unit mounts FGM-148 Javelin on GUV
Video screenshot

During the demonstrations, a remote T-62 main battle tank was successfully targeted at a range of 700m using the Javelin. Similarly, the M153 Protector’s .50 caliber machine gun effectively engaged a light truck. Accomplishing this involved transferring videos from the missile and remote weapon station, along with control and firing signals, over encrypted radio frequency [RF] communication.

The success of the demonstration extended beyond just validating the integration of the weapon station, missile, and platform, according to Fribbs. It also confirmed the wireless capabilities of both the weapon station and the Unmanned Ground Vehicle [UGV], he stated. “The concept behind this remote launch might be further explored and developed. It carries the potential to extend into the Javelin Command Launch [CLU] or other soldier-based control interfaces. This could ultimately provide electro-optical sensor control to other UGVs, Stryker systems, or remote weapon stations,” he elaborated. 

However, questions linger regarding the overall worth and effectiveness of the integration executed by the Ukrainian side. Some speculate that the efficiency may still have room for improvement. But, as it has been unveiled, this isn’t the first successful attempt at integrating the FGM-148 Javelin ATGM onto an unmanned ground vehicle.

Developed by the United States, the FGM-148 Javelin Anti-Tank Guided Missile [ATGM] is a man-portable, fire-and-forget weapon system, widely recognized for its unique top-attack mode. This aims to target the more vulnerable upper surfaces of armored vehicles. 

The Javelin system comprises two primary components – the launcher and the missile. Weighing approximately 14.1 kilograms [31 pounds], the reusable launcher consists of the command launch unit [CLU] and the missile tube. The CLU, with its integrated day/night sight, offers all-weather targeting capability. Meanwhile, the missile tube, which houses the missile before launch, is a single-use item.

The missile, sporting a length of 1.06 meters [42 inches] and a weight of approximately 8.4 kilograms [18.5 pounds], comes equipped with a tandem shaped-charge warhead engineered to overcome reactive armor. Its strategically designed two-stage warhead enables this missile to pierce even the most robust modern tank armor – the initial blast sets off any reactive armor, and the subsequent stage breaches the base armor. 

US confirmed: 5,000 ATGMs Javelin arrive in Ukraine on May 6
Image: US Army/Sgt. 1st Class Ben Houtkooper

Boasting an impressive operational range, the Javelin ATGM can target up to 2,500 meters [1.55 miles] away, providing the operator with a significant standoff distance. In conjunction with its fire-and-forget prowess, this missile allows rapid relocation after launch, thus accentuating battlefield survivability.

The Javelin missile employs a tandem shaped-charge warhead. The dual-charge design with the precursor charge causes perturbation or activation in the reactive armor, while the main charge penetrates the base armor. This innovation positions the Javelin as a potent instrument, even against tanks with the heaviest armor.


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