Country of origin
France / Germany
Total weight with launcher
~ 24 kg
MILAN is the most successful Western European anti-tank missile ever
made and is only surpassed by the
when it comes to international customers.
If its name conjures visions of Italyís capital of style it
deserves mention the MILAN is a French acronym for Missile
díInfranterie Legar ANtichar or ďInfantry anti-tank missileĒ in
The MILANís development dates back to a Franco-German program
during the 1960s called the Euromissile. Soon after it entered
service in 1972 it became a successful example of standardization
among NATO forces. Not only were thousands deployed by the French,
German, Belgian, and Spanish armies, but Italy and soon India were
assembling MILANs under license.
The French were very generous with the MILAN and it was even
sold to regimes that werenít exactly allied with the West, including
Egypt, Iraq, Libya, and Syria. Its simplicity and firepower soon
earned the MILAN a sterling combat record and MILANís have been sold
in every continent except Antarctica. All in all, the MILANís
customer list has reached 41 countries and at least several
disassembled the MILAN is divided between a launch tube carried in a
separate case and the firing post or launcher, which combines a
small tripod and the optical sensor. A two-man team can successfully
operate a MILAN by assembling it from a concealed or fortified
position. The MILAN was meant to be employed at the company level in
the event that infantry need a serious countermeasure against
This is why it could also be mounted in different armored
vehicles like the
the VAB APC,
AMX-10P IFV. But in the hands of irregular forces the MILAN
excelled at ambushes on enemy transports and APCs.
When fired, the missile discharges the launch tube backwards
and spins towards its target, floating above the line of sight to
maneuver past any obstructions. Since 1984 the MILAN 2ís larger
warhead could knock out second-generation tanks and most
The MILANís combat record is unmatched and the small ďhot
warsĒ of the Cold Warís final decade saw its greatest proliferation.
During the 1980s MILANs were used in the Falklands War, the Angolan
Civil War, the Lebanese Civil War, the Iran-Iraq War, and the
The collapse of Yugoslavia and its resulting conflicts with
Bosnia and Croatia saw the MILAN employed against Eastern Bloc armor
once again. As recently as 2014, surplus MILANís along with their
launchers were delivered by air from Germany to Northern Iraq. These
were for Kurdish Peshmerga battling the Islamic State. The Kurds
found the MILANís range well-suited to destroying suicide bomb
Untold quantities of the MILAN have been seized from
government warehouses and bunkers in Syria. A substantial amount of
footage shows it being used by various factions in the countryís
The MILANís success inspired many imitators and it is
believed the Soviet 9K113 Fagot and the
9KM113 Konkurs were based on
it. Even Chinaís ubiquitous
Arrow, a system that has grown into a family of missiles, copied
aspects of the MILANís operation.
An estimated 360 000 MILAN missiles have been made since the
1970s. Being a second-generation ATGM that enjoyed unprecedented
global success, the MILANís manufacturer MBDA has sought to
continuously improve it. The latest MILAN variant is the MILAN ER,
for "extended range", that can reach targets 3 kilometers away and
offers greater penetration along with day/night targeting.
Nearly 15 years after the MILAN entered service a new variant was
introduced in 1984 that featured an improved firing post. The
missile together with the warhead was enlarged to 115 mm for greater
armor penetration. It penetrates 550 mm or rolled homogenous armor.
MILAN 2T, The 2T marked the introduction of a tandem HEAT
warhead in the MILAN system. This was to counter the widespread use
of Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA) among third-generation tanks,
which by the late 1980s were impervious to most shoulder-launched
anti-tank rockets. This missile penetrates 880 mm of rolled
homogenous armor behind ERA.
MILAN 3, Introduced in 1996 the MILAN 3 had even larger 125
mm missile with tandem HEAT warhead and an infrared guidance system.
MILAN ADT, In 2006 MBDA introduced a new lightweight firing
post for the MILAN 3 with integrated thermal sights for day/night
operation. South Africa was the first customer for the MILAN ADT and
the subsequent MILAN ER was developed to complete the system and
thoroughly modernize the MILAN.
MILAN ER, Is an MBDA project to modernize the MILAN ATGM with
greater range (3 km) along with a new ADT firing post or launcher
with day/night sights. This missile penetrates 1 000 mm of rolled
homogenous armor behind ERA. The MILAN ERís launcher is compatible
with earlier variants of the MILAN and remains a wire-guided system
since this makes it resistant to jamming.
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