Thursday, September 26, 2013

Pilum High: The Javelin Anti-Armor Missile

Sep 23, 2013 15:40 UTC by Defense Industry Daily staff

India firing
Sept 18/13: India. Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter is visiting India for talks, which included the Javelin ATGM. Javelin was in danger of falling out of contention due to technology transfer issues, but a new proposal would replicate the PJ-10 BrahMos missile development model for the portable strike missile niche. With encouragement from the Pentagon, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin would co-produce Javelin in India, and would also include India as a development partner for the next iteration of the Javelin system. The response remains to be seen:
“DEPUTY SECRETARY CARTER: Well, India needs to take time to consider that. It’s an offer. It’s in the spirit of the [Defense Trade and Technology Initiative]. And we intend to do that, to develop many ideas, make many proposals…. We don’t have the history that Russia does here and we’re trying to replicate that, or overcome the fact that our defense technology and industrial system and the Indian defence and technology industrial system were segregated for many decades. Now destiny is bringing us together and we need to work to make those two systems mesh. That’s not automatic. They’re different. They have different histories, different bureaucracies and so forth, so it takes the leaders of our two defense industrial systems to help our companies do that.”
Sources: Pentagon, “Media Roundtable with Deputy Secretary of Defense Carter in Delhi, India”.
Javelin, firing
(click to view full)
The FGM-148 Javelin missile system aimed to solve 2 key problems experienced by American forces. One was a series of disastrous experiences in Vietnam, trying to use 66mm M72 LAW rockets against old Soviet tanks. A number of replacement options like the Mk 153 SMAW external link and the AT4/M136 spun out of that effort in the 1980s, but it wasn’t until electronics had miniaturized for several more cycles that it became possible to solve the next big problem: the need for soldiers to remain exposed to enemy fire while guiding anti-tank missiles to their targets.
Javelin solves both of those problems at once, offering a heavy fire-and-forget missile that will reliably destroy any enemy armored vehicle, and many fortifications as well. While armored threats are less pressing these days, the need to destroy fortified outposts and rooms in buildings remains. Indeed, one of the lessons from both sides of the 2006 war in Lebanon has been the infantry’s use of guided missiles as a form of precision artillery fire. Javelin isn’t an ideal candidate for that latter role, due to its high cost-per-unit; nevertheless, it has often been used this way. Its performance in Iraq has revealed a clear niche on both low and high intensity battlefields, and led to rising popularity with American and international clients.

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