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Anti-tank guided missile

Metis missile

The Metis anti-tank guided missile was adopted in the late 1970s.

Country of origin Soviet Union
Entered service 1979
Armor penetration 460 mm
Range 1 km
Missile length 740 mm
Missile diameter 93 mm
Fin span 300 mm
Missile weight 5.5 kg
Total weight with launcher 16.5 kg
Warhead weight 2.5 kg
Warhead type HEAT
Guidance Wire-guided


   The 1970s were a renaissance for anti-tank weapons. Not only did the fusion of miniaturization and optoelectronics amplify the infantrymanís firepower, but advances in missile technology meant tanks and armored vehicles could be dispatched with relative ease at superb ranges. Until then infantry used crew-served anti-tank and recoilless rifles, i.e. the Carl Gustaf, for anti-armor role. The few anti-tank missiles that existed were often just short-range guided rockets, designed in the 1950s.

   The period was especially fertile for ATGMís from either side of the Iron Curtain. In circumstances that remain baffling until today, companies like the Soviet Unionís Instrument Design Bureau (KBP) were able to create imitations of Western ATGMís whose capabilities were even better than the originals. This was exactly the case with the 9K115 Metis (Western designated the AT-7 Saxhorn). In form and function it shared striking similarities with the Franco-German MILAN, albeit with smaller dimensions.

   Like the Milan, the Metis was deployed as a two-man system. One carried the launcher that had an integrated collapsible tripod while his partner carried two launch tubes with missiles. These containers were water proof and lightweight. A third soldier might even carry an extra pair of missiles.

   The original Metisí range, penetration, and warhead were similar to the MILANís. Both were wire-guided SACLOS systems and brought additional firepower down to the company level alongside machine guns, light mortars, and rocket launchers.

   In the greater scheme of things, the Metis was for the Soviet footsloggers while the heftier Konkurs was employed in their battle taxis like the BMP-2. The original Metis didnít enjoy the export success of previous Soviet ATGMís and this undeserved state consigned it to near-obscurity.

   Ideally the Metis was deployed in three-man teams. One carried the launcher that had an integrated collapsible tripod while his partners each carried two launch tubes armed with missiles. These containers were water proof and lightweight.

   By 1992 KBP introduced a new variant called the Metis-M or (AT-13 Saxhorn-2) and 20 years later the even more capable Metis-M1 arrived. Both had larger 127 mm missiles with greater range and penetration. This meant the original Metis is now obsolete and can not defeat any type of armored vehicle currently in service.

   The Metis-M proved itself during the brief 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah in Southern Lebanon. In a conflict that was almost decided by the widespread use of ATGMís, Hezbollah managed to inflict frustrating losses on IDF armor using their stocks of Russian-made Malyutka, Konkurs, Kornet, and Metis-Mís. Even their should-fired RPG-7 and RPG-29ís managed to pose a serious threat to Israelís tanks and armored vehicles.

   Years later the Metis-M would leave its mark during the Syrian Civil War where a startling variety of ATGMís are employed by the warring factions.

   Unlike its earlier iteration the 9K115-2 Metis-M has proven itself as an export. Multiple former Soviet republics as well as client states possess stocks of the Metis and Metis-M. Bulgaria openly advertises the fact that it sells surplus Metis ATGMís. Countries like Algeria, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Croatia, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, and South Korea have purchased the Metis-M and M1ís for their armies.




   Metis, the original variant that entered service in 1979 was a relatively small SACLOS ATGM with a 93 mm 9M115 missile suited for hitting targets at a range of up to 1 kilometer.

   Metis-M, Introduced in 1992, the Metis-M features a larger 127 mm missile with tandem HEAT warhead and enhanced performance. It has a range of 1.5 km and penetrates 800 mm of rolled homogenous armor behind Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA).

   Metis-M1, A further improvement of the Metis-M. It uses the 127 mm 9M131M missile on the 9P151 launcher that now has the 1PBN86-V1 thermal sight. This configuration is suited for all-weather operations. It has a range of 2 km and penetrates 900 - 950 mm of armor behind ERA. Missile of the Metis-M1 can be also fitted with a thermobaric warhead for use against lightly armored vehicles, fortifications and enemy troops.


Miguel Miranda

   Article by MIGUEL MIRANDA

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Metis missile

Metis missile

Metis missile

Metis missile

Metis missile


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