Saturday, October 18, 2008

FGM-148 Javelin

FGM-148 Javelin

U.S. soldier firing Javelin.
Type Anti-tank guided missile launcher
Place of origin United States
Service history
In service 1996–present
Used by See Operators
Wars War in Afghanistan (2001–present), 2003 Invasion of Iraq
Production history
Designer Raytheon and Lockheed Martin
Designed June 1989
Manufacturer Raytheon and Lockheed Martin
Unit cost $80,000
Produced 1996–Present
Weight Missile: 11.8 kg (26.0 lb)
CLU: 6.4 kg (14.1 lb)
Length Missile: 1.1 m (42.6 in)
Launch tube: 1.2 m (47.2 in)
Diameter Missile: 127 mm (5.0 in)
Launch tube: 142 mm (5.6 in)
Crew 2

Effective range 75 to 2500 m
Warhead Tandem shaped charge HEAT
Warhead weight 8.4 kg (18.5 lb)
Impact force

Engine Solid Fuel Rocket
Infrared homing

The FGM-148 Javelin is an American-made man-portable anti-tank guided missile.



[edit] Overview

Javelin is a fire-and-forget missile with lock-on before launch and automatic self-guidance. The system takes a top-attack flight profile against armored vehicles (attacking the top armor which is generally thinner) but can also take a direct-attack mode for use against buildings or fortifications. This missile also has the ability to engage helicopters in the direct attack mode.[1] The missile reaches a peak altitude of 150m in top attack mode and 50m in direct fire mode. The missile is equipped with an imaging infrared seeker. The tandem warhead is fitted with two shaped charges: a precursor warhead to detonate any explosive reactive armor and a primary warhead to penetrate base armor. The Javelin was used in the 2003 Invasion of Iraq, with devastating effects on the Iraqi version of T-72s and Type 69 tanks.

The missile is ejected from the launcher so that it reaches a safe distance from the operator before the main rocket motors ignite; a "soft launch arrangement". This makes it harder to identify the launcher and allows it to be fired from within buildings; however, back-blast from the launch tube still poses a hazard to nearby personnel. Thanks to this "fire and forget" system, the firing team may move on as soon as the missile has been launched.

The missile system is carried most often by a two man team consisting of a gunner and an ammo bearer, although it can be fired with just one person if necessary. While the gunner aims and fires the missile, the ammo bearer scans for prospective targets and watches for threats such as enemy vehicles and troops.

[edit] Development

In 1983, the United States Army introduced its AAWS-M (Advanced Anti-Tank Weapon System - Medium) requirement, and in 1985, the AAWS-M was approved for development. In August 1986, the Proof-of-Principle phase of the development began, with three competitors designing prototypes. In late 1988, the POP phase ended, and in June 1989, the full-scale development contract was awarded to a joint venture of Texas Instruments and Martin Marietta (now Raytheon and Lockheed-Martin). The AAWS-M received the designation of FGM-148.

In April 1991, the first test-flight of the Javelin succeeded, and in March 1993, the first test-firing from the launcher succeeded. In 1994, low levels of production were authorized, and in 1996 the first Javelins were deployed with US Army units.

[edit] Components

[edit] Launch Tube Assembly

Both men carry a disposable tube called the Launch Tube Assembly which houses the missile and protects the missile from harsh environments. The tube also has built in electronics and a locking hinge system that makes attachment and detachment of the missile to and from the Command Launch Unit a very quick and simple process.

[edit] Command Launch Unit

The gunner carries a reusable Command Launch Unit (in addition to the Launch Tube Assembly) more commonly referred to as a CLU (pronounced "clue"). The CLU is the targeting component of the two part system. The CLU has three views which are used to find, target, and fire the missile. The CLU may also be used separately from the missile as a portable thermal sight. Infantry are no longer required to stay in constant contact with armored personal carriers and tanks with thermal sights. This makes the troops more flexible and able to perceive threats they would not otherwise be able to detect. In 2006 a contract was awarded to Toyon Research Corporation to begin development of an upgrade to the CLU enabling the transmission of target image and GPS location data to other units.[2]

[edit] Day view

The first view is a 4× magnification day view. It is mainly used to scan areas for light during night operation because light is not visible in the thermal views. It is also used to scan during times following the sunrise and sunset when the thermal image is hard to focus due to the natural rapid heating and/or cooling of the earth.

[edit] NFOV (Narrow Field of View)

The second view is the 4x magnification night view, and shows the gunner a thermal representation of the area viewed. This is also the primary view used due to its ability to detect infrared radiation and find both troops and vehicles otherwise too well hidden to detect. The screen shows a "green scale" view which can be adjusted in both contrast and brightness. The inside of the CLU is cooled by a small refrigeration unit attached to the sight. This greatly increases the sensitivity of the thermal imaging capability since the temperature inside the sight is much lower than that of the objects it detects. Due to the sensitivity this causes, the gunner is able to "focus" the CLU to show a very detailed image of the area being viewed by showing temperature differences of only a few degrees. The gunner operates this view with the use of two hand stations similar to the control stick found in modern cockpits. It is from this view that the gunner focuses the image and determines the area that gives the best heat signature on which to lock the missile.

[edit] Thermal view 2

Once the best target area is chosen the gunner presses one of the two triggers and automatically is sent to the third view. The third view is a 9x magnification thermal view. This process is similar to the automatic zoom feature on most modern cameras. This view is also available along with the previously mentioned views, all of which may be accessed with press of a button. It is not as popular however, because a high magnification view takes longer to scan a wide area. This view allows the gunner to further aim the missile and set the guidance system housed inside the actual missile. During this view is when information is passed from the CLU, through the connection electronics of the Launch Tube Assembly, and into the missile's guidance system. If the gunner feels uncomfortable with firing the missile, he can still cycle back to the other views without having to fire the missile. When the gunner is comfortable with the target picture he pulls the second trigger and establishes a "lock”. The missile launches after a short hesitation.

[edit] Training

A great familiarity of each control and swift operation needs to be achieved before the unit can be deployed efficiently. American troops are trained on the system at the Infantry School in Fort Benning, Georgia, for two weeks. The soldiers are taught basic care and maintenance, operation and abilities, assembly and disassembly, and the positions it can be fired from. Soldiers are also taught to distinguish between a variety of vehicle types even when only a rough outline is visible. The soldiers must accomplish several timed drills with set standards before being qualified to operate the system in both training and wartime situations. There are also smaller training programs set up on most Army bases that instruct soldiers on the proper use of the system. At these courses the training program might be changed in small ways. This is most commonly only minor requirements left out due to budget, the amount of soldiers vs. simulation equipment, and available time and resources. Both types of training courses have required proficiency levels that must be met before the soldier can operate the system in training exercises or wartime missions.

[edit] Advantages and disadvantages

[edit] Advantages

The portable system is easy to separate into main components and easy to set up when needed. Compared to more cumbersome anti-tank weapon systems, the difference is noticeable. For example, a TOW requires a heavy tripod stand, a bulky protective case for the thermal sight, a larger, longer launch tube, and requires much more time to assemble and prepare. The Javelin (although very heavy) is lighter than other missiles and their necessary parts.

Although the CLU's thermal imaging may hinder aiming, its thermal targeting allows the Javelin to be a fire-and-forget system. This gives the firer an opportunity to be out of sight and possibly moving to a new angle to fire from, or out of the area by the time the enemy realizes they are under attack. This is much safer than using a wire-guided system because the firer must stay at the same location the missile was fired from and guide the missile into the target.

Another advantage is the Javelin's power at impact. The missile has a tandem shaped charge in its warhead that is made to penetrate reactive armor. The Javelin was created with the intent to be able to penetrate any tank armor and was tested on the M1 Abrams Tank. With the top attack mode it has an even greater ability to destroy the tank because it can attack where most tanks are the weakest.

The soft launch capability of the Javelin allows it to have only a minimal backblast area. This enables the Javelin to be fired from inside a wide variety of structures. This gives the Javelin advantages in urban fighting over the widely used AT4, which has a very large backblast area, although this is lessened in the AT4 CS. A large backblast area would seriously injure personnel if fired from inside a small structure.

The missile also has a greater range than the system it replaces, the M47 Dragon.

[edit] Disadvantages

The main drawback of the system is its 49.5 lb total weight. This does not account for the additional batteries (BA5590 lithium battery) which weigh around 2.25 lbs each. Each battery is estimated to last 4 hours by the Javelin's manufacturer. A normal load for batteries (not counting the "just in case" extras that most teams carry) is 5–10. This number may be more or less depending on the length of mission. The system is designed to be portable by infantry on foot and weighs more than the original specified weight the army called for.

Another drawback of the system is the reliance on a thermal view to acquire targets. The thermal views are not able to operate until the refrigeration component has cooled the system. The manufacturer estimates 30 seconds until this is complete, but depending on the ambient temperature, this process may take much longer. The thermal view is occasionally hindered by a naturally occurring phenomena where the temperature of the earth heats or cools rapidly, and may interfere with the recognition and lock-on of the intended target.

[edit] Operators

Javelin in use with the New Zealand Army
Javelin in use with the New Zealand Army
  • Canada has decided to buy Javelin launchers for its military, 200 launchers and 840 missiles being acquired. [1]
  • Czech Republic has bought three launchers and 12 missiles for its special forces (intended for Afghanistan mission) [4].
  • Mexico: 140 launchers and 780 missiles
  • Norway: 100 launchers and 526 missiles, delivery from 2006
  • Republic of China (Taiwan): 40 launchers and 360 missiles
    • In a 2002 contract, Taiwan bought 360 Javelin missiles and 40 launcher units for $39 million. The contract also included training devices, logistics support, associated equipment and training.[5]

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