Country of origin
600 - 670 mm
1 390 mm
Total weight with launcher
Range of fire
up to 4 km
Range of fire (at night)
up to 2 - 2.5 km
It’s one of the most
successful anti-tank weapons ever developed by the Soviet Union.
Often compared by Western sources to the American
or the French
in reality the 9K113 Konkurs (Russian for “Competition”), designated
the AT-5 Spandrel by the West, has little in common with its peers.
Despite its Cold War bona fides and widespread adoption on
vehicles like the
infantry fighting vehicle, the
reconnaissance vehicle, and the
airborne combat vehicle,
examining the available literature about the Konkurs is a bit
disappointing. The information discussing its origins, development,
and evolution is perfunctory at best other than the oft-repeated and
tiresome explanation that it’s a larger, deadlier variant of the
9K111 Fagot (known in the West as AT-4 Spigot).
It’s only when alternative sources are trawled from the
Russian internet that crucial details emerge from its mysterious
A product of the Tula Machinery Design Bureau the Fagot/Konkurs
was a second-generation ATGM program launched in 1966. It marked a
departure from the original batch of Soviet anti-tank missiles like
the Malyutka (Western reporting name AT-3 Sagger) and the older
Fleyta (AT-2 Swatter) that so fascinated the Soviet leader Nikita
Krushchev during the late 1950s.
Entering service with the Soviet Army in 1974 the Konkurs was
eventually built in vast quantities and exported to the usual club
of Middle Eastern and Eastern European client states. To keep
production costs manageable the new ATGM was designed for a velocity
of 206 meters per second; an ideal speed for ambushes that didn’t
require an expensive missile. But it wasn’t until 1977 that Western
managed to identify the new ATGM and differentiate it from the 9K111
Fagot (AT-4 Spigot).
The close resemblance between the 9K111 and the 9K113 stems
from being the same systems except for their armament—the 9K111
supports a 120 mm missile while the heftier 9K113 is a 135 mm
missile. Both are mounted on the 9P135 tripod-launcher system. It
combines the collapsible 9P56 launcher unit or tripod with an
integrated 9S451M guidance unit/controller box and firing
Whatever analysis and writing can be gleaned from Western
sources during the Cold War fail to acknowledge how advanced the
Konkurs was for its time. Even though it was a wire-guided
Semi-Automatic Command to Line of Sight (SACLOS) ATGM all its other
features were incomparable to anything in the West. This casts doubt
on the assertion that the Konkurs was a derivative of the French
It turns out both were very different systems.
True to the European fashion the Konkurs used a collapsible
mount that allowed its deployment in a concealed position or behind
cover. Unlike the
for example, the Konkurs could be launched without the operator
exposing themselves by standing up or crouching behind the guidance
unit or fire control system.
When launched the Konkurs’ missile spins toward the target
and emits a red tail light so its course can be followed visually.
Should the missile be detected by a jammer or an active protection
system the operator is alerted and can choose to manually guide the
warhead by hand control like with the
Malyutka (AT-3 Sagger).
The Konkurs packed a lethal punch as well, capable of
reaching targets 4 kilometers away. When used at night the Konkurs’
1PN65 thermal sight cut its effective range by half to 2-2.5
kilometers. By comparison the baseline MILAN had a maximum effective range
of just 2 kilometers. The Konkurs’ HEAT warhead had superb
penetration nearly twice that of rival tube launched ATGM’s in the
By the time the improved Konkurs-M was introduced it was an
even more potent ATGM with a tandeam HEAT warhead that could
dispatch any tank. Even third-generation MBTs, when bereft of a
well-trained crew and either protective countermeasures or
additional composite armor, are in dire straits against a Konkurs
team readying in concealment.
A prolific ATGM the Konkurs placement on vehicles like the
which an estimated 20 000 were built, meant its production reached
at least the tens of thousands. The Soviet Union shared its
production with Bulgaria and the former Yugoslavia. Today it’s
Slovenia who inherited the latter’s ATGM production.
Substantial stocks of the Konkurs were left in what used to
be the Eastern Bloc, especially in Ukraine, Belarus, Romania, and
Moldova. Its production has also extended to Iran. Meanwhile India’s
Bharat Dynamics Ltd. allegedly manufactures the Konkurs but in 2012
New Delhi was forced to acquire 10 000 additional Konkurs-M missiles
as a stopgap for a shortage of ATGMs.
A disappointing aspect of the Konkurs is it never
proved itself in battle as anti-tank weapon. Surviving records and
photographic evidence showing it being fired in anger are quite scarce among conflicts the Soviet
Union participated in during the 1980s. Three decades after it
caused furrowed eyebrows among NATO’s intelligence analysts the Konkurs finally lived up to its reputation in the ongoing Syrian
Civil War where rebel fighters regularly published combat footage of ATGM kills for
soliciting financial aid from their patrons. The Konkurs made a
comeback during the military conflict in Ukraine, however these are
mainly deployed against infantry, rather
than armored vehicles.
With the Russian Army fixated on larger and larger ATGM’s
Kornet or the
Khryzantema the Konkurs continued use may be in doubt. Do keep
in mind that no matter what there are just so many stockpiled in the
arsenals of between 25 and 40 countries.
Konkurs-M (Western reporting name Spandrel-B) – it has a tandem HEAT
warhead and penetrates between 750 to 800 mm
of armor behind ERA. The improved 9M113M missiles can be launched
using the launcher unit of the Konkurs.
9P148 anti-tank missile carrier, based on the
armored reconnaissance vehicle. It has five 9M113 missiles in
ready-to-launch position on the roof and carries 10 reload missiles
Tosan – Iranian copy of the Konkurs.
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