Javelin Anti-Tank Missile

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Javelin Anti-Tank Missile

In 1989, the joint Army and Marine Corps program awarded a contract for the development of Javelin. Javelin entered full-rate production in 1994 and the systems were first deployed in June 1996 by the US Army at Fort Benning, GA.

The Javelin is a manportable, "fire-and-forget" anti-tank missile employed by dismounted infantry to defeat armored combat vehicles. Its range of about 1.5 miles is more than twice that of its predecessor, the M47 Dragon.

Sgt. Gabriel Zimmerman uses Javelin sight during training with B Company, 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Divison at Camp Greaves, Republic of Korea, 10 September 2001
Sgt. Gabriel Zimmerman uses Javelin sight during training with B Company, 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Divison at Camp Greaves, Republic of Korea, 10 September 2001.

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Javelin Anti-Tank Missile

Javelin is a simple-to-operate, economically maintained, rugged and reliable infantry system. It has two major components: a reusable Command Launch Unit (CLU) and a missile sealed in a disposable Launch Tube Assembly. The CLU incorporates an integrated day/night sight and provides target engagement capability in adverse weather and countermeasure environments. The launch unit also may be used in the stand-alone mode for battlefield surveillance and target detection (top photo).

The Javelin is a man-portable antitank missile using an imaging infrared "fire-and-forget" system. It uses neither wires nor lasers for guidance. The missile has a small thermal imaging TV camera in the nose and a computer that is sufficiently sophisticated that once locked onto a tank, it will follow it autonomously, even if it is moving. The missile is designed to attack the topside of a tank where the armor is thinner. After launch, the missile climbs to a 330-660 ft altitude and dives at a 45-degree angle. The warhead is a tandem shaped-charge for penetrating explosive reactive armor. The first charge detonates the armor and the second penetrates the vehicle. The Javelin can defeat any known enemy armor.

The Javelin has secondary capabilities against helicopters and ground-fighting positions. Its direct-attack capability will engage targets with overhead cover or in bunkers. Its "soft launch" allows employment from within buildings and enclosed fighting positions. The soft launch signature limits the gunner's exposure to the enemy, thus increasing survivability.

Javelin weighs 49.5 pounds and has a range of from 75 to 2000 meters.

Two-man team fires the anti-armor Javelin missile
Two-man team fires the anti-armor Javelin missile.

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