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Anti-tank guided missile

Vikhr missile

The Vikhr anti-tank missile is around since the early 1990s

Country of origin Russia
Entered service 1992
Armor penetration 1 000 mm behind ERA
Missile length 2.75 m
Missile diameter 0.13 m
Fin span 0.38 m
Missile launch weight 45 kg
Warhead weight 10 - 12 kg
Warhead type Tandem HEAT
Range of fire up to 10 km
Guidance Laser-guided


   The 9A4172 Vikhr is a Russian long-range anti-tank guided missile. It is known in the West as the AT-16 Scallion. It was developed in the Soviet Union during the 1980s. At the time Soviets needed a new missiles, to replace the 9K114 Shturm (AT-6 Spiral) system, that could penetrate contemporary Western main battle tanks with composite and explosive reactive armor, such as the American M1 Abrams, German Leopard 2, and British Challenger. Prototypes were tested by the Soviet armed forces in 1989. First production missiles were delivered in 1992. During the same year the Vikhr was first publicly revealed. Since its introduction sales of the Vikhr missile have been slow, partly because Russia also uses Ataka missile, developed by another manufacturer, which is similar in function, but uses different guidance. In 2013 Russian MoD ordered over 6 000 Vikhr-1 missiles in order to prevent the manufacturer from going bankrupt. Delivery was completed in 2016. The Vikhr has been exported to Egypt, and possibly some countries.

   Launchers with the Vikhr missiles can be mounted on helicopters, vehicles and watercraft. This missile is typically used on Russian helicopters, such as the Ka-52, and Su-25T ground attack aircraft. However much more numerous Russian Mil attack helicopters, such as the Mi-24 and Mi-28 are typically equipped with broadly similar Ataka anti-tank missiles.

   The Vikhr missiles are used in conjunction with APU-6 and APU-8 aviation launchers. The APU-6 launcher carries 6 missiles and is used on the Ka-50 helicopters. The APU-8 launcher carries 8 missiles and is used on the Su-25T ground attack aircraft.

   The Vikhr has a maximum range of up to 10 km. However at night the distance is reduced to 5-6 km. The missile has a tandem High-Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT) warhead, that can defeat Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA). It is claimed that the Vikhr penetrates up to 1 000 mm of armor behind ERA. The missile detonates on contact, when launched against armored targets. It has also got a proximity fuse which gives area-effect. This feature allows to engage other non-armored targets, infantry and helicopters. So sometimes it is referred as a multi-purpose missile.

   The Vikhr is a laser-guided weapon. The missile follows a laser beam, which is pointed at the target. The system has got an automatic sight unit with a TV (day) and infrared (night) channels. Target tracking and missile control are automatic. This missile is supersonic. The system allows to launch a single missile, or two missiles simultaneously against the same target.

   A claimed target hit probability by a single missile is up to 95% against stationary targets and up to 80% against moving targets. However at longer ranges this missile gradually looses accuracy, as the laser beam spreads out.

   The missile is stored in a tube, with also acts as its launcher. It has a warehouse storage life without maintenance of up to 10 years.

   The Vikhr is significantly cheaper, than the US Hellfire, which is similar in function. Its price is around $28 300 per missile, opposed to $111 000 per AGM-114L Hellfire missile.

   Also there is a Russian Ataka anti-tank guided missile. It was developed during the same timeframe as the Vikhr and has the same role. Also it has comparable performance, even though the Ataka was developed by another company and has an unrelated design and different guidance. Both of these missiles are competing against each other.




   Vikhr-1 is an improved version of the Vikhr. In 2013 Russian MoD ordered over 6 000 of these missiles. This order was in part to prevent the manufacturer from going bankrupt. Delivery commenced in 2015 and was completed in 2016. The whole improved system, that uses the Vikhr-1 missiles is referred as Vikhr-M.

   Vikhr-K is a naval version, launched from the watercraft. It has been deployed on Russian ships.

Vikhr missile

Vikhr missile

Vikhr missile

Vikhr missile

Vikhr missile

Vikhr missile

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