Home > Missiles > MSS 1.2

MSS 1.2

Anti-tank guided missile

MSS 1.2 anti-tank missile

Based on an Italian design, the Brazilian-made MSS 1.2 is one of the most powerful missiles in its class

 
 
Country of origin Brazil
Entered service 2009
Armor penetration 700 mm RHAe
Range of effective fire 3.2 km
Maximum range 4 km
Missile length 1.38 m
Missile diameter 0.13 m
Fin span ?
Launch tube length 1.38 m
Missile weight 15.5 kg
Launcher weight (without tripod) 17 kg
Tripod weight 11 kg
System weight 52.8 kg
Warhead weight 3.2 kg
Warhead type HEAT
Guidance Semi-active laser

 

   The MSS 1.2 is a man-portable Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) manufactured in Brazil by Mectron. It is one of the most powerful missiles in its class, and is intended to give infantry an equalizer against even the most advanced main battle tanks.

   Initially, this missile was jointly developed by OTO Melara in Italy and ENGESA in Brazil as the Missile Anticarro della Fanteria (MAF), with the program beginning in 1985. The MAF was later renamed the LEO, in honor of Minister of the Army Leonidas Goncalves, but that name as well gave-way to a later designation, the current MSS 1.2. After ENGESA went bankrupt in 1993, the program was handed over to ORBITA, and later Mectron (also a Brazilian company). OTO Melara eventually ceded the entire program to Mectron, who continued to develop it for an agonizingly long duration --- after 16 more years and at least one major redesign, the MSS 1.2 was formally accepted into service with the Brazilian armed forces in 2009.

   The CEO of Mectron, Gustavo Ramos, claimed in December 2012 that the MSS 1.2 was (in his own words) "developed and manufactured by a 100% Brazilian company". Though given articles on the MAF, LEO, and MSS 1.2 by Flight Global and other news outlets since the 1980s, this is somewhat exaggerated; without substantial assistance from OTO Melara, this missile would never have existed.

   Unlike most modern ATGMs in its class, the MSS 1.2 is not fired from a disposable launch tube, but rather a reloadable box launcher. Even more unusual, the launcher has a butterfly-shaped bore, and a hexagonal cross-section (the prototype launchers had more conventional cylindrical tubes). It is made of lightweight composite materials, has a lanyard for easy transport, and the muzzle and venturi are both covered by plastic covers to keep our moisture, dust, and debris. The launcher can easily be carried by a single soldier, though the tripod, sights, and missiles must be carried by additional personnel. The MSS 1.2's launcher may be mounted on a low-level tripod, or on a vehicle.

   The MSS 1.2 is guided by a semi-active laser system, by which the operator or another soldier paints the target with a laser spot, and the missile homes-in on its reflection. This guidance method gives the MSS 1.2 excellent accuracy even at very long range, and allows the user to manually guide the missile into any target. However, laser guidance is not without its faults. The laser beam can be detected by foes equipped with laser detector systems, and laser designator and optics can be damaged by return fire from a laser dazzler. In addition, the beam can be blurred or even completely blocked by smoke, rain, fog, mist, and dust clouds.

   In addition to its laser guidance, the MSS 1.2 is also one of the few ATGMs deliberately designed to be launched without guidance, in the event that guidance is not possible for whatever reason, or if the enemy is so close that there isn't any point in "painting" them with a laser spot. If the seeker head fails to detect a laser spot, the missile's guidance system will force it to fly on as straight and flat a trajectory as possible, up until it flies long enough to self-destruct.

   Propulsion for the MSS 1.2 is a 2-stage system, consisting of a rocket booster and a rocket sustainer, both utilizing solid fuel. The boost phase expends the booster within a fraction of a second, propelling the missile some distance away from the operator before the sustainer (which has a significant backblast) can fully-ignite. The sustainer motor is smokeless and flameless. The missile arms in flight at a distance of approximately 70 m from the launcher, and flies at 583 m/sec out to a distance of more than 4 000 m before the self-destruct system activates. Mectron rates the MSS 1.2 as accurate against moving tanks out to a range of 3 200 m; the longer 4 000 m figure is probably the effective range of the MSS 1.2 against static tanks, buildings and other stationary targets.

   The warhead of the MSS 1.2 is a 3.2 kg shaped charge munition, with a 2.5 kg bursting charge consisting of an HMX-based explosive compound. It is rated to penetrate 700 mm Rolled Homogenous Armor equivalency (RHAe), and during Brazilian Army testing, the warhead was reportedly able to penetrate more than 6 000 mm of concrete. Interestingly, depending on what type of concrete was used, this could indicate that the warhead's armor penetration is almost twice as great as advertized. The manufacturer also boasted that this warhead will penetrate the frontal armor of any existing or projected main battle tank, including the M1A2 Abrams, Challenger 2, and T-90; this claim is somewhat suspect, because even if the warhead is powerful enough, it lacks a precursor charge to defeat ERA.

   As of 2014, the Brazilian Army fielded 48 launchers and 12 missiles each, while the Brazilian Marines fielded 12 launchers with 6 missiles each. The planned production total for the Brazilian armed forces is 400 launchers, and over 2 000 missiles.

   To date, no foreign orders have been forthcoming, though the MSS 1.2 remains in production and development, and is still offered for export. A single MSS 1.2 missile costs approximately $300 000.

 

Similar weapons

 

   9M133 Kornet: The Russian Kornet (Western reporting name AT-14 Spriggan) is one of the most well-known and successful man-portable ATGMs, and it has proven able to disable giants such as the M1A2 Abrams, T-90, Merkava Mk.4, and Challenger 2. Like the MSS 1.2, the Kornet is launched from a reloadable low-level tripod, and is laser-guided.

   FGM-148 Javelin: The US equivalent of the MSS 1.2, the Raytheon FGM-148 Javelin is a more elaborate weapon, employing a tandem charge warhead, passive infrared guidance, and a top attack capability.

   Stugna-P (export name Skif): This Ukrainian laser-guided ATGM is similar to the Kornet and MSS 1.2.

   Type 87 Chu-MAT: The Kawasaki Type 87 Chu-MAT is another example of a man-portable, tripod-launched, laser-guided ATGM. It is used only by the Japanese Self Defense Forces.

   Type 01 LMAT: The Kawasaki Type 01 LMAT is another Japanese ATGM in the same class as the MSS 1.2, though its design attributes are more like those of the FGM-148 Javelin.

 

Blacktail

   Article by BLACKTAIL

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

 
MSS 1.2 anti-tank missile

Expand image

MSS 1.2 anti-tank missile

Expand image

MSS 1.2 anti-tank missile

Expand image

MSS 1.2 anti-tank missile

Expand image

MSS 1.2 anti-tank missile

Expand image
 
MSS 1.2 anti-tank missile

Expand image

MSS 1.2 anti-tank missile

Expand image

MSS 1.2 anti-tank missile

Expand image

MSS 1.2 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 MSS 1.2