Home > Missiles > MAPATS

MAPATS

Anti-tank guided missile

MAPATS anti-tank missile

Based on the wire-guided BGM-71 TOW, the MAPATS is a laser-guided missiles

 
 
Country of origin Israel
Entered service 1985
Range 4.5 km
Flight speed 315 m/s
Launcher weight 66 kg
Launch tube length 1 450 mm
Missile weight (with canister) 29.5 kg
Missile launch weight 18 kg
Missile length 1 450 mm
Missile diameter 148 mm
Warhead type HEAT or HE
Warhead weight 3.6 kg
Armor penetration 800 mm RHAe
Guidance Laser guided

 

   The MAPATS is a tube-launched, man-portable Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) system, designed for use by infantry, vehicles, and helicopters. The name is short for MAn Portable Anti-Tank System, and "Mapats" is also Hebrew otomotopea for an explosion (i.e., like the word "kaboom"). In Latin American countries, it has also been referred to as the "MAPTAS".

   Little of the origins of the MAPATS have been published. This weapon is clearly a derivative of the US-made BGM-71 TOW missile, but no assistance from the US military or defense industry in the development of the MAPATS has ever been mentioned. It was first unveiled to the public in 1984, and apparently entered service with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in 1985. It is possible that Israel Military Industries (IMI) developed this missile with covert support from the South African government, given the uncanny similarity of the MAPATS to the ZT-3 Ingwe ATGM (and the extreme similarity of the Ingwe to a then-classified laser-guided version of the TOW, which was still undergoing testing in secrecy when the Ingwe was unveiled).

   Though it is easily confused with a BGM-71 TOW at first glance, the MAPATS does have some visibly different exterior features. For one, its fins don't taper, and are rectangular in shape, and while the rear fins on the TOW are hinged at the very base of the missile, the fins on the MAPATS are located further forward. The MAPATS also has a distinctive boattail, while the fuselage of the TOW is a straight cylinder after the nose cone.

   The MAPATS has an all-metal construction, with fins and a fuselage consisting mostly of sheet steel. The composition of the rest of the missile is unpublished, but it presumably consists of the same materials as the TOW.

   The star feature of the MAPATS is its laser beam-riding guidance, via a Semi-Automatic Control by Line-Of-Sight (SACLOS) control interface. The fire control unit on the launcher includes a laser designator, which produces an overlapping group of conical laser beams. These beams are detected by a laser receiver on the tail of the missile, whose guidance system attempts to fly the missile down the operatorís line of sight, where the beams from the laser designator intersect. This allows the user to control the missile by simply steering the sights onto the target, and as long as the target remains in range and in the crosshairs, the missile is almost certain to hit it.

   Beam-riding guidance has many advantages, such as being very simple to use, including a "man in the loop" to keep constant control of the missile, and the ability of the user to steer the missile into almost anything within reach. Because the receiver is aimed directly away from the target, this system is also impossible to jam.

   However, beam-riding guidance isn't without its faults. At long ranges, the "wobble" of the missile in flight around the user's line of sight increases, causing the missile to lose accuracy at very long ranges. More importantly, the advent of laser detection systems for armored vehicles means that laser guidance no longer enjoys as great an element of surprise as it once did, and if the Electronic Counter Measures (ECM) package includes a laser dazzler (which fires laser beams back at the source of the offending beams), the beams from the dazzler could quickly destroy the designator or the optics in the sight system --- or the eyes of whomever was guiding the missile. Furthermore many modern armored vehicles have another protection system, which automatically triggers smoke grenade dischargers once the vehicle is illuminated by a laser beam. This blocks the line of sight for the MANPATS operator and makes targeting complicated.

   As it isn't literally tethered by a guidance cable during flight, the MAPATS is quicker and more maneuverable than the TOW. Being "wireless" also allows the MAPATS to be used in environments where a wire-guided missile is either difficult or hazardous to deploy, such as in urban environments where a guidance cable could become snagged on many objects commonplace in cities (such as light poles, telephone wires, fences, and so on). Another wire guidance problem eliminated in the MAPATS is the shorting-out of the guidance system, should the guidance cable come into contact with a body of water; the MAPATS may be used to engage armored vehicles from across a lake, for example. Although this should also logically allow the MAPATS to be significantly faster than the TOW, it actually has roughly the same flight speed.

   Like the TOW, the MAPATS employs a two-stage propulsion system, consisting of a very short-lived booster stage, and a sustainer motor that propels the missile through most of the duration of its flight. The booster is carried out of the tube along with the missile, and falls-away approximately 5 meters from the muzzle of the launcher. Both are solid fuel rockets. Also like the TOW, a tracking light is integrated into the tail of the missile.

   The warhead is a 3.6 kg shaped charge munition, capable of penetrating 800 mm of Rolled Homogenous Armor equivalency (RHAe), which was adequate to defeat any tank in service in the mid-1980s. Examples made from the early 1990s onward were re-armed with a tandem shaped charge, capable of defeating 1 200 mm RHAe after Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA); enough penetration to defeat almost any tank in service today, even in a frontal attack.

   An alternate unshaped High Explosive (HE) warhead was also developed for the MAPATS, which gives the missile a more powerful detonation and a much larger blast and shrapnel radius. When fitted with the HE warhead, the MAPATS is significantly more effective against structures, fortifications, softskin vehicles, personnel, and soft targets than a missile carrying a shaped charge warhead. However, this alternate warhead has very little armor penetration potential, rendering tanks and even many lightly-armored vehicles are too tough to knock-out.

   Though the MAPATS is light enough to be carried by a single soldier, launching it requires tripod. When the tripod is assembled, a missile is loaded into the launch tube. The launcher traverses 360 degrees, and superelevates though -20 to +30 degrees. The sights have an image intensification (i.e., "night vision") capability, which intensifies visible ambient light to create a substitute for daylight; this allows the MAPATS to be used at night or in other very low-light conditions, though it is prone to being blinded by strong light sources (such as searchlights), it does not display heat sources as with a passive infrared sight, and it will not work in total darkness (such as during a heavily-overcast moonless night). This launcher is similar in design to M220 system used for to launch the TOW.

   It is unclear if the MAPATS has ever been used in combat, though several operators (particularly Israel) have fought several conflicts since this missile first became operational. Known operators of the MAPATS include Chile, Ecuador, Estonia, Israel, and Venezuela. It is gradually being superseded in Estonian service by the FGM-148 Javelin.

   The MAPATS no longer appears on IMI's website, so it has probably been discontinued.

 

Variants

 

   Original model: Basic production model, as described above.

   Improved model: Production of the improved MAPATS started in the early 1990s. This version is referred as MAPATS 2. It was fitted with a more powerful tandem shaped charge warhead capable of penetrating 1 200 mm of RHAe after ERA. Claims have been made that this version of the MAPATS can penetrate 1 620 mm RHAe, but this is doubtful, given that such penetration has eluded almost all ATGMs as of 2016. It seems that this version has a maximum range of 6 km.

   Multi-purpose variant: This model carries an unshaped HE warhead for use against structures, light vehicles, and various soft targets. It is also effective against some light armor, but cannot defeat any operational main battle tank.

 

Similar weapons

 

   BGM-71 TOW: The ubiquitous US-made TOW is the obvious design basis of the MAPATS, and boasts similar performance attributes as well.

   LAHAT: Another Israeli laser-guided ATGM is similar in function to the MAPATS, the LAHAT is much smaller, and has a unique twist; in addition to being useable in much the same manner as the MAPATS, the LAHAT's original function was being gun-launched from 105 mm and larger tank guns. It can even be launched from 105 mm or larger recoilless rifles.

   Spike-MR: Yet another Israeli ATGM, the Spike family are similar in form to the MAPATS, but they employ a fiber-optic infrared guidance system. The Spike-MR variant is closest in size and performance to the MAPATS.

   ZT-3 Ingwe: The South African Ingwe is the most similar ATGM to the MAPATS.

   HJ-9: A further development of the HJ-8 wire-guided ATGM, the Chinese HJ-9 is laser guided, making it at least philosophically similar to the MAPATS.

   Type 97 Chu-MAT: This Japanese ATGM is a smaller, more man-portable missile than the MAPATS.

   9M133 Kornet: Code-named AT-14 Spriggan by the West, this Russian ATGM is smaller than the MAPATS, and similar in configuration to the Type 97 Chu-MAT. However, the Kornet has as much firepower as the MAPATS. It penetrates up to 1 000 mm of RHAe.

   Shershen: Another laser-guided ATGM developed from a wire-guided munition, the Belarusian Shershen.

 

Blacktail

   Article by BLACKTAIL

   Want to publish your own articles? Visit our guidelines for more information.

 
MAPATS anti-tank missile

Expand image

MAPATS anti-tank missile

Expand image

MAPATS anti-tank missile

Expand image

MAPATS anti-tank missile

Expand image

MAPATS anti-tank missile

Expand image
 
MAPATS anti-tank missile

Expand image

MAPATS anti-tank missile

Expand image

MAPATS anti-tank missile

Expand image

MAPATS anti-tank missile

Expand image

MAPATS anti-tank missile

Expand image

MAPATS anti-tank missile

Expand image

MAPATS anti-tank missile

Expand image

MAPATS anti-tank missile

Expand image

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Home  Home     Aircraft     Helicopters     Tanks     Armored Vehicles     Artillery     Trucks     Engineering Vehicles     Missiles     Naval Forces     Firearms     |     Contact Us
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

© ARG 2006 - 2017
www.Military-Today.com MAPATS

Visitor counter