Country of origin
2 500 m
Launch tube length
Launch tube diameter
~ 6.4 kg
Javelin is a US-made man-portable fire-and-forget anti-tank missile.
It was fielded to replace the
In the mid 1970s
the US Army adopted the M47 Dragon anti-tank guided missile. It was a shoulder-fired
weapon with a wire guidance. This anti-tank missile had a reliable design
and very good performance. However by the late 1980s the M47 became
out-dated. Its effective range was limited to 1 000 m. Also
penetration power of the M47 was insufficient to defeat latest main
battle tanks with heavy armor. So the US Army awarded a contract to
develop a new anti-tank guided missile to replace the M47 Dragon.
was jointly designed by Texas Instruments (now Raytheon missiles systems) and
Martin Marietta (now Lockheed Martin). In 1991 the first test flight of the
Javelin succeeded. In 1994 first firing test was successful and
missile hit the target at a range of 2 000 m. In 1995 mass
production of the FGM-148 Javelin began and in 1996 it was delivered to
the US Army and US Marine Corps. The Javelin has been exported to about 20
countries including Australia, France and United Kingdom. It was
widely used during the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. In Iraq it destroyed
Type 69 and Asad Babil (T-72) tanks and military trucks.
In Afghanistan it was successfully used against Taliban bunkers
Currently the FGM-148 Javelin is one of the most
advanced man-portable anti-tank guide missile system in the world. It can
destroyed any current main battle tank. It can also target low flying helicopters. Only
some existing anti-tank missiles, such as Israeli Spike can compare with
the Javelin. A close copy of the Javelin, called the
recently emerged in China. This Chinese missile has similar
specifications and capabilities as the Javelin.
is a man-portable fire-and-forget type weapon. It is shoulder-fired
but can also be installed on the tripod or tracked and wheeled armor
vehicles. Currently the
Bradley cavalry fighting vehicle can use Javelin missiles instead the
The Javelin missile system is operated by a crew of
two. It consists of two parts, including the Command Launch Unit (CLU) and launcher tube
with missile. The CLU is reusable, while launcher tube is disposable. The
must attach a tube with missile to the CLU before each shot. After
each shot the operator detaches empty tube and attached another one
with missile for the next shot. The CLU has multiple
channels with thermal imager for surveillance, scouting and
target prioritization. It can operate at night and in all weather conditions.
The gunner can choose the best channel depending on environmental
conditions. When the gunner determines the target, coordinates are sent to the missiles seeker.
The missile locks on the target before launch.
During flight it guides automatically. During that time the operator
can detach an empty tube and from the CLU and attach another tube
with missile. It takes about 15 seconds. Alternatively the crew can
leave a firing position.
There are two modes of attack: top attack and direct
attack. The top-attack
flight mode is used to engage tanks and other armored vehicles.
After the launch the missile climbs upward and then dives towards
the target. This
method is very suitable to destroy main battle tanks, because most of them have
only a minimum level of armor protection in the upper part of the
turret. In direct attack mode the missile flies directly to the
target. This mode is used to engage buildings, bunkers, weapon crews
and concentrations of enemy troops. In the direct attack mode the
Javelin can also engage low-flying helicopters.
is equipped with imaging infrared seeker. The missile has an 8.4 kg tandem
shaped charge warhead. A precursor warhead detonates any explosive
reactive armor and the primary warhead penetrates the base armor.
The Javelin is capable of destroying any existing main battle tank in the world.
missile has a soft launch capability. In
the first stage of the launch the missile is thrown forward about 20
meters via a small compressed gas cylinder which is located at the
back of the missile. When the missile thrown away from the operator,
the main engine turns on.
This feature make it a very suitable
for use in urban environment and closed areas, such as buildings,
without any risk for the gunner.
firing range of the Javelin is 2 500 m. Recently the manufacturer
developed a version of the Javelin with a range of 4 750 m.
initial version of the Javelin.
improved version of the Javelin.
further improved version of the Javelin.
export version of the Javelin.
fitted with multi-purpose warhead. It is much more effective
against enemy personnel, weapon crews, buildings and lightly armored
or unarmored vehicles. This missile is still lethal against tanks.
HJ-12 is a
Chinese copy of the Javelin. This Chinese missile has similar
specifications and capabilities as the Javelin. Actually there are
more similar Chinese advanced anti-tank guided missiles, similar to
the Javelin that are being offered for export. These include GAM-100
and TS-01 anti-tank guided missiles.
Article by ALI MOHAMMADI
publish your own articles? Visit our
guidelines for more information.