Tank designers have always grappled with the challenge of enhancing a tank’s offense while bolstering its defense against anti-tank missiles. Even so, the age-old issue of ultimate protection remains a stumbling block. It’s in response to this hurdle that China has engineered a solution with the Tieshui-1 [TS-01], dubbed the “tank killer”. This represents a groundbreaking application of advanced concepts and technology.
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This “tank killer” can detect a tank from a distance of 3500 meters and can precisely strike from as far as 2500 meters. But beyond this impressive functionality, what other benefits does the TS-01 offer? And how does it stack up against similar Western counterparts?
Inspiration from the battles
The famous American philosopher once asserted, “Only the dead have seen the end of war.” This undoubtedly holds some truth; no matter the severity of any war, ultimately, it will come to an end. The parallel to this can be drawn to the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine – while its conclusion remains uncertain, it is inevitable.
Currently, it appears that the Western allies, exhausted from the strain of the war, are contemplating retreat. Russian President Vladimir Putin contends that should these allies cease their aid to Ukraine, they might not last a week. Yet, amid the war, several individuals have managed to profit significantly from the deployment of various armaments.
A myriad of analysts and experts believe Moscow’s primary goal is to obliterate all equipment supplied by Western nations to Ukraine, with tanks, like Challenger-2 and Leopard-2, being their premier targets.
In reality, a tank’s most vulnerable point has always been its top. Even after all these years, this remains an unprotected area. This is due to the practical needs of the vehicle – soldiers need to get in and out of the tank from the top, and enclosing it with substantial armor could potentially hinder combat effectiveness.
Missiles like the Dow, Spike, Cornet, and Javelin are primarily anti-tank weapons that attack from above. More specifically, in a top attack mode, these missiles rise rapidly to a predetermined height after launch, then plummet from above, culminating in an explosion that rattles the top of the tank’s armor.
What is TS-01?
China unveiled a robust individual armament dubbed Tieshui-1 at the Zhuhai Air Show. This sleek weapon requires just a pair: a gunner to aim and a carrier to arm it. The operation is user-friendly, with a low-cost process in place. Intriguingly, this missile is fire and forget, as it’s capable of self-navigating to its target post-launch.
The tech-savvy among us may know it by its codename, TS-01. The system comprises two main components. The first is a cuboid launch control unit which contains the extremely crucial targeting and fire control modules.
Their aiming system boasts an impressive reach of between 3000 to 3500 meters. This expansive range allows the Tieshui-1 anti-tank missile system to promptly detect any tank within its vicinity and rapidly neutralize the threat.
The counterpart to the launch control unit is a cylindrical storage and launch container. It maintains a collapsed form when not activated, with both ends firmly sealed to prevent any interference from external elements.
The rocket’s main wings and tail are conveniently folded and stored within its body. Upon entering combat mode, these wings expand and the system is designed to automatically deploy them post-launch.
The integration of an uncooled infrared seeker and a navigation system, allows for remarkable precision. The Tieshui-1 missile system can achieve accuracy within a radius of one meter, ensuring a successful hit with a single launch.
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