Note: This article features Raytheon’s & Lockheed Martin’s FGM-148 Javelin ATGM.
FGM-148 is Third Generation Anti-Tank-Guided Missile (ATGM) jointly produced by Raytheon and Lockheed Martin (Former Texas instruments and Martin Marietta). FGM-148 Javelin is state of the art ATGM System with new Technique to counter enemy Tanks, Armored Vehicles, IFVs, Buildings and key Targets. Soft launch and Top attack make it very significant ATGM ever produced.
Overall, its weight is 22.3 KG, CLU Unit and Assembly “Lunch Unit” weights about 15.8 kg while Missile is 6.4 KG.
FGM-148 Javelin range is 2.5 km (2500 meters) while in joint exercise between India and USA armies known as “Yudh Abhyas” it achieved successful range of 4750 meters.
Unlike conventional propellants Javelin uses “Soft Launch “mechanism because Rocket motors need sufficient back space to avoid any injury to operator, to address this issue FGM-148 first of two-stage rocket stops ignition as soon missile is out of Lunch tube, after gaining sufficient clean space flight motor starts ignition and Missile is propelled. Both two-stage rocket motors are integrated through an ignition disk to save weight. Plus, Assembly Lunch Tube is positioned inclined while firing it. This helps in gaining height and attaining “Top Attack” capability against Tanks, where Top of tanks (Turret) are thin and weak as compared to hull parts.
Guidance and Command Launch Unit (CLU)
Two-part system Javelin’s CLU incorporates a passive target acquisition and fire control unit with integrated day sight and thermal imaging capabilities. It uses three views for tracking, identifying, and locking target.
- Day time 4x magnification view is used in daytime where thermal sights are not effective.
- Wide field View 4x magnification (WFO)
2nd view is 4x magnification night View which is primarily used due to its good Infrared radiation capability against vehicles and troops.
- Narrow Filed View (NFOV) 12x Magnification
This is 12x magnification thermal sight view for better identification of target, this is used once Gunner have focused WFOV and Target information are passed to Missiles Seeker FOV.
As Javelin features fire and forget capability, missile must guide on its own. Missile is equipped with independent Infrared Imaging seeker coupled with Tracking System. This combination when given with target information continuously track the target and ensures fire and forget capability.
Javelin uses Tandem Heat Two-shaped-charge which are very effective against Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA). Two-Shaped-Charged warhead deceive ERA. A precursor Charge is exposed to ERA and is blown up, Compromising ERA main charge do its job and penetrate armor ensuring successful kill. A two-layered molybdenum liner is used for the precursor and a copper liner for the main warhead to prevent main charge from ERA and Precursor explosion, shock, and debris etc. ensuring main charge to be safe and sound.
Javelin is successfully used by NATO forces on many fronts ensuring its credible performance. Specially in Iraq invasion played very important role and was successful against Russian origin tanks and other armored vehicles. In Afghanistan it was used against DShK-postion and other key target which were not easy to engage through Mortars (less accurate or other weapon due to low range (Snipers etc., RPG), Javelin proved very effectively.