Thanks to the successes achieved in the field of miniaturization of semiconductor elements and the improvement of semi-automatic guidance systems, approximately one and a half decades after the end of World War II, it was possible to create sufficiently compact anti-tank guided missile systems suitable for carrying by the forces of calculation.
The first controlled anti-tank missile system used by the American army was the Nord SS.10, developed in France. This ATGM since 1960 was produced under license by General Electric. Managed by wire ATGM guided manually by the method of three points (sight - rocket - target). The control commands were transmitted from the joystick on the control surface, mounted on the rear edges of the ATGM wings. Tracking rocket in flight was carried out by tracer. Missiles were delivered to a position in a light tin box, which also served as a launcher. The mass of the rocket together with the box was 19 kg, which made it possible to transfer the ATGM by the forces of calculation. Rocket length - 850 mm, wingspan - 750 mm. The cumulative 5 kg warhead could penetrate the 400 normal with homogeneous armor.
ATGM SS.10 on the launcher
The first anti-tank missile, adopted by the US, had not very impressive combat characteristics. The launch range was in the range of 500-1600 m. At maximum flight speed, manually controlled using the joystick of the 80 ATGM, the enemy tank had good chances to dodge the missile. Although the production of SS.10 rockets under the designation MGM-21 was established in the United States, their operation in the American armed forces was experimental.
In the 1961, the United States adopted the French ATGM Nord SS.11. To begin with, the 60-x SS.11 complex had good performance. The cumulative warhead of a 6,8 kg rocket punched 500 mm armor. With a maximum flight speed of 190 m / s, the firing range was 3000 m. On average, a well-trained guidance operator at the 10 test site hit 7 targets with missiles.
However, as an infantry anti-tank anti-tank missile system SS-11 in the American army did not catch on. First of all, it was connected with the mass and dimensions of the guidance equipment and rockets. Thus, a guided missile with a length of 1190 mm and a wingspan of 500 mm weighed 30 kg. In this regard, the missiles, which received the designation AGM-22 in the USA and were produced under a license, were limitedly installed on off-road vehicles, armored personnel carriers and helicopters. In addition, the effectiveness of the use of ATGM in a combat situation was much worse than the results shown at the test site. In 1966, in Vietnam, from 115 missiles launched from UH-1В Iroquois helicopters, only 20 hit the target. Such depressing combat use statistics are explained by the fact that the accuracy of the first generation ATGM targeting directly depends on the training and psycho-emotional state of the operator. In this regard, the US military concluded that despite the simplicity of the implementation of a manual missile control system, its effectiveness in a combat situation is not obvious and a portable complex with a semi-automatic guidance system is required.
In 1962, the 58 ATGM ENTAC was purchased in France, which received the designation MGM-32A in the US Army. Structurally, this complex had a lot in common with SS.10 ATGM, but had the best characteristics. An ATGM weighing 12,2 kg and a length of 820 mm had a wingspan of 375 mm and carried a 4 kg warhead capable of penetrating 450 mm armor. A missile with a maximum flight speed of 100 m / s was capable of hitting targets at a range of 400-2000 m.
Placement on a combat position ATGM ENTAC
ATGM was delivered to a position in a metal box. The same box served as a one-time launcher. To prepare for launch, the front cover of a kind of transport and launch container was folded back and, with the help of two wire supports, the launcher was mounted at an angle about 20 ° to the horizon. The rocket itself at the same time half protruded from the box. Up to 10 missiles could be connected to the position guidance station. There was also a variant of the launcher on a trolley, which could be transported by the forces of calculation.
Built towed launcher ENTAC in the exposition of the French Museum Saumur
In 1963, most of the MGM-32A anti-tank systems were placed at the disposal of the US military contingent stationed in South Korea. In the initial period of the Vietnam War, the MGM-32A guided missiles were in service with the 14th Infantry Regiment. All available stocks of French-made ATGMs were exhausted by the end of 1969. During launches not a single tank the enemy was not hit, missiles were used to fire at enemy positions.
In 1970, the BGM-71 TOW (English Tube, Opticall, Wire) entered into service, which can be translated as a missile launched from a tubular container with optical guidance, controlled by wires. After the completion of military trials, in 1972, mass deliveries of anti-tank complexes to the troops began.
Prototype ATGM TOW presented in 1964 year
The ATGM, created by Hughes Aircraft, implemented command semi-automatic guidance. But unlike SS.11, after the launch of an ATGM TOW, the operator only had to keep the central mark on the target before the missile hit. Control commands are transmitted through thin wires.
Early version of ATGM BGM-71 TOW
The ATGM launch tube with a length of 2210 mm and pointing equipment are mounted on a tripod machine. The mass of ATGN in combat is about 100 kg. Apparently, the technical appearance of the M152 151-mm launcher and the method of loading the guided missile cartridge have been greatly influenced by the recoilless rifles already in service.
Compared with the Soviet second-generation ATGMs, which also had a semi-automatic guidance system with the transmission of commands by wire, the American TOW complex, intended for use as an anti-tank battalion link, was unnecessarily cumbersome and heavy.
Although subsequently the length of the M220 launcher of the upgraded versions of ATGM TOW was somewhat reduced, the size and weight of the American complex was significantly greater than that of most ATGMs created around the same years in other countries. In this regard, the TOW ATGM, formally considered portable, is in fact portable, and is mainly located on various self-propelled chassis.
The basic version of the BGM-71A guided missile weighed 18,9 kg and had a length of 1170 mm. Flight speed - 280 m / s. The launch range is 65-3000. The cumulative 3,9 kg warhead could penetrate an 430 mm armor plate. That was quite enough to defeat the Soviet tanks of the first post-war generation with homogeneous armor.
Immediately after the launch of the rocket from the barrel, four spring-loaded wings open in its middle and tail section. The cumulative warhead is located in the front of the rocket, and the control unit and the engine are in the rear and middle ones.
In the process of pointing, the operator must always keep the telescope mark on the target. At the rear of the rocket there is a xenon light bulb, which serves as a source of long-wave infrared radiation, by which the guidance system determines the location of the rocket and produces commands that lead an ATGM to the line of sight. The signals from the processor are transmitted to the rocket control system via two wires unwound from the reels in the back of the rocket. In the event of a wire break, the rocket continues its flight along a straight-line trajectory.
Improvement of anti-tank missiles of the BGM-71 family was carried out in the direction of increasing the launch range and armor penetration value and introducing a new, more compact and reliable electronic element base. The modification BGM-71C (Improved TOW), adopted by the 1981 year, thanks to the use of more efficient warhead penetration armor increased to 600 mm. The weight of the rocket itself increased by 200 d. Thanks to the use of more efficient jet fuel and the increased length of the control wire, the maximum launch range was 3750 m. A distinctive feature of the BGM-71C ATGM was the additional rod installed in the nose fairing.
In the middle of the 70-s, Soviet tank divisions stationed in the Western Group of Forces and in the European part of the USSR began to re-equip into tanks with multi-layer combined armor. In response, in 1983, the BGM-71D TOW-2 ATGM with improved engines, a guidance system and a more powerful warhead entered service. The mass of the rocket increased to 21,5 kg, and the thickness of the penetrated homogeneous armor reached 850 mm. Later modifications of the missiles are visually distinguished by the presence of rods in the bow, designed to form a cumulative jet at an optimal distance from the armor.
On the BGM-71E (TOW-2А) rocket, adopted in 1987 in the nose, there is a miniature tandem warhead with a diameter of 38 mm and a mass of about 300 g, designed to overcome dynamic protection. Contact mechanical fuse, located on the head of the tip, initiates the first auxiliary warhead, the detonation of the main charge occurs after the detonation and destruction of reactive armor auxiliary charge. Undermining the main cumulative warhead mass 5,896 kg occurs at a distance of about 450 mm from the barrier.
On the basis of the BGM-71D, the 1992 created the BGM-71F (TOW-2B) rocket designed to destroy armored vehicles in the most vulnerable upper part of it. ATGM BGM-71F is equipped with a new modified warhead with a double charge of a directional explosion, oriented at an angle 90 ° to the longitudinal axis of the rocket and a dual-mode remote fuse.
The fuse includes a laser altimeter and a magnetic anomaly sensor. The detonation of the warhead occurs when the missile is flying over the target, which is hit from above by the tantalum impact core. Undermining warheads with a diameter of 149 mm occurs simultaneously, the action of one is directed downward, and the other with a slight shift backward to ensure a greater probability of hitting the target. The material for the formation of the shock core was chosen in order to create the maximum incendiary effect after penetration of the tank's upper armor.
Various modifications of ATGM BGM-71
For the destruction of long-term fortifications based on the BGM-71D created rocket BGM-71H with thermobaric warhead, with a power of TNT equivalent of about 11 kg. According to American data, all missiles created on the basis of BGM-71D, can be used with a single launcher without any restrictions. Starting with the BGM-71D modification of ATGM, an additional tracer was generated to generate simultaneous firing from closely located launchers and increase noise immunity, generating heat as a result of boron and titanium reactions, and the radiation frequency of the xenon bulb became variable and randomly changed during the flight of the rocket. The long-wave infrared radiation of the thermal tracer is monitored by the standard thermal imaging sight AN / TAS-4A introduced into the sighting equipment on the TOW-2 anti-tank systems.
In September 2006, the US military ordered new TOW 2B RF wireless ATG with a launch range of 4500 m. The use of a radio command guidance system allows you to remove restrictions on the range and flight speed of a missile imposed by the control wire unwinding mechanism from the coils acceleration and reduce the time spent ATGM on the trajectory.
ATGM TOW received widespread. The complex is in service in approximately 50 countries of the world. In total, more than 1970 700 BGM-000 missiles of various modifications have been launched since 71.
TOW anti-tank complex baptism took place during the Vietnam War. At the end of March 1972, the North Vietnamese troops, quickly overcoming the demilitarized zone, launched a full-scale offensive to the south. The attack involved several hundred Soviet-made T-34-84, T-54 and PT-76 tanks, as well as captured American M41 and M113 BTR. In this regard, exactly one month later - 30 on April 1972 of the year, the army command decided to send TOW ground attack systems and instructors to prepare American and South Vietnamese calculations to South-East Asia.
Already May 5, Vietnam's military transport aviation 87 launchers and 2500 anti-tank missiles were delivered. Since by that time the Americans, due to heavy losses and lack of prospects for victory in the conflict, began to gradually abandon ground operations, placing this burden on the army of South Vietnam, the bulk of the anti-tank systems were transferred to the South Vietnamese allies.
New anti-tank missiles from ground-based launchers were first used in combat in May 1972. By the end of June, the 1972 tanks were able to hit 12 tanks with the help of ground-based ATGMs, in addition to the Soviet T-34-84 and T-54 machines, among the destroyed armored vehicles were the captured M41. But the local successes of the armed forces of South Vietnam in defense could not have an impact on the overall course of hostilities. By mid-August, more than 70 anti-tank complexes were lost in the battles. 19 August 1972 The 711 divisions of the DRV fighters stormed the Camp Ross base in the valley of Kung Son, defended by the 5 infantry regiment of the South Vietnamese army, captured several operational anti-tank complexes and a supply of missiles to them. Ground launchers with sighting equipment and guidance equipment, as well as guided anti-tank missiles, which became trophies of the North Vietnamese army, soon found themselves in the USSR and the PRC.
Soviet specialists were primarily interested in the characteristics of the BGM-71A ATGM's armor penetration capability and the design features of the guidance system, as well as possible ways of organizing optoelectronic interference. In China, after a thorough study and copying of elements of captured ATGMs, in the middle of the 80-x they adopted their own analogue, which was designated as HJ-8. Subsequently, a number of modifications appeared, differing from the original model by the launch range and increased armor penetration. Serial production of Chinese ATGM is still ongoing, it was adopted in Pakistan, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates and several African countries.
A relatively small number of TOW ATGMs in 1973 were used by the Israel Defense Forces against Arab tanks in the Doomsday War. On the eve of the war, an 81 launcher and a little more than 2000 missiles were delivered to Israel. Although the BGM-71A ATGM was used in a rather limited manner in the fighting, which was explained by the small number of prepared calculations, the Israeli military appreciated the high probability of hitting the target and the convenience of missile guidance. The next time the Israelis applied TOW in 1982, during the Lebanese company. According to Israeli data, anti-tank missiles destroyed several Syrian T-72.
On a large scale, TOW was used against Soviet-made tanks during the Iran-Iraq war. The anti-tank missiles received by Iran during the years of the Shah’s rule easily pierced the armor of T-55 and T-62 tanks from any direction. But it was not always possible to overcome the frontal armor of the hull and turret of the modern at that time T-72. Stockpiles of BGM-71A missiles available in the Islamic Republic were quickly consumed during hostilities, and therefore attempts were made to acquire them in a roundabout way. Despite the rupture of relations between Iran and the United States, in 1986, the illegal supply of ATGM was carried out through Israel and South Korea. In 90, Iran launched production of its own unlicensed version of TOW anti-tank systems, which received the designation Toophan.
After the invasion of Iraqi troops in Kuwait in August 1990 of the year, fifty launchers and more than 3000 missiles became trophies of Saddam’s army. What happened to the Kuwaiti TOW is not known in the future, there is no information that the captured anti-tank systems were used against the troops of the anti-Iraqi coalition. In turn, the Americans actively used the TOW-2 and TOW-2А complexes with ATGM BGM-71D and BGM-71Е. According to American data, one of the units of the Marine Corps destroyed 93 armored targets, while using 120 ATGM. In total, during Operation Storm in the Desert more than 3000 BGM-71 missiles were launched. As before, the ATGM successfully hit the old T-55 and T-62, but even the action of modern missile modifications on the T-72 frontal armor was not always satisfactory. In addition, the operation of piezoelectric fuses on rockets stored in warehouses for about 20 years, in many cases, turned out to be unreliable. Often, old missiles were disposed of, shooting them at abandoned Iraqi tanks.
In 1992-1993, the American contingent in Somalia spent about one and a half hundred ATGM TOW-2 and TOW-2A. The targets of the missile strikes were militant vehicles, depots and firing points. Anti-tank systems with the aim of increasing mobility were mostly mounted on HMMWV vehicles, but portable launchers were sometimes used to protect bases and roadblocks at road junctions.
The 2003-2010 of the TOW was also used during the Second Iraq War, although not as actively as in the 1991. Since the Iraqi armored vehicles almost did not participate in direct clashes, the guided missiles were used in pinpoint strikes, to destroy firing points and buildings occupied by the defending republican guardsmen and fedaiins. At the same time, the BGM-71Н missiles with a thermobaric warhead demonstrated high efficiency in street battles. TOW ATRA used in a number of special operations. So, on July 22, 2003, in Mosul, one building produced 10 ATGM. According to the intelligence data, Uday Hussein and Kusey Hussein were in the building at that moment. After it was possible to clear the debris, both sons of Saddam Hussein were found dead. After the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, more than a hundred TOW launchers and TOW and several thousand missiles sent American troops to the Iraqi armed forces. However, received from the United States weapon because of the low professional qualities of the soldiers of the new Iraqi army, they were often not used effectively or even were thrown on the battlefield, becoming trophies of radical Islamists.
In the first half of 2015, the TOW-2A ATGM with the Hughes / DRS AN / TAS-4 night-vision sights appeared at the disposal of terrorist groups operating in the Syrian Arab Republic.
In this case, the militants in some cases quite competently used anti-tank systems, which suggests that they were well trained. Often, multi-layer armor and dynamic protection of the T-72 and T-90 tanks did not save the ATGM with the tandem warhead from entering. There is information that as a result of the BGM-71D ATGM hit in December 2016, two Turkish Leopard 2 tanks were destroyed in the north of Syria. However, despite some successes, American-made anti-tank complexes could not ensure victory for the Syrian armed forces. The peak of the use of ATGM TOW in Syria fell on the 2015-2016 years. Now cases of use of anti-tank systems TOW in the SAR are quite rare. This is explained both by the expenditure of guided anti-tank missiles and by heavy losses among the operators trained by American instructors.
The TOW ATGM had good armor penetration and a sufficient launch range. At the same time, the considerable size and weight of the complex imposed restrictions on the use of its small infantry units. In fact, TOW at the beginning of the 70-x was replaced in the regimental and battalion level 106-mm recoilless guns M40. However, in the heavy weapons sections of the infantry companies, the 90-mm M67 rocket launchers remained the main anti-tank weapons. The command of the land forces and the Marine Corps wanted to obtain a more accurate weapon with an effective range of fire exceeding several times the distance of the shot of an 90-mm grenade launcher. The idea of developing such weapons and the requirements of the technical specifications for it were formulated by the officers of the Redstone Arsenal as early as 1961. It was assumed that the new relatively light and compact anti-tank systems would be transported for a short distance in the combat position by one soldier and could be used in the tactical branch-platoon link.
Although more than a dozen companies were engaged in the creation of guided anti-tank missiles in the United States in 60-e, McDonnell Aircraft Corporation was able to get closer to the requirements for light ATGMs. The Sidekick anti-tank complex, the loser in the TOW ATGM competition from Hughes Aircraft, further evolved into the MAW light ATGM (English Medium Antitank Weapon). This complex was developed to fill a niche in anti-tank armament between heavy anti-tank complexes TOW and disposable hand-held anti-tank grenade launchers M72 LAW. Taking into account the high initial velocity of the rocket and proportional to its recoil force, in order to avoid throwing the launch tube and, as a result, errors when aiming at the target, the prototype MAW ATGM was equipped with two-legged bipods.
In June, 1965, the first test launches began on the territory of the Redstone Arsenal. In order to reduce the cost and speed up the start of tests in throwing launches, an 127-mm unguided Zuni missile was used. Subsequently, a five-inch guided rocket arrived at the test, the cruising jet engine of which was a series of sequential ignition briquettes arranged in a row with rows of slots (performing the function of nozzles) along the rocket body, around each briquette. The ATGM used a wire guidance system. After the launch of the rocket, the operator had to hold the crosshairs on the target. At the same time, the station for forming and transmitting commands, focusing on the tracers installed in the rear part of the ATGM, fixed the missile deviation and calculated the mismatch parameter between the missile flight trajectory and the target's line of sight, transmitted the necessary corrections to the rocket autopilot, which were converted into vector control system pulses thrust.
Shooter with MAW ATGW during 1966 test in the fall
ATGMs weighing 12,5 kg could be used and transported by one operator, did not require an equipped firing position for themselves, could accompany infantry units in the offensive, and were particularly in demand for airborne and airmobile operations, as well as for use in mountainous and wooded areas.
In the course of ground tests, MAW ATGMs demonstrated the efficiency and satisfactory probability of hitting ground targets. The American generals particularly liked the possibility of using a portable complex as an assault weapon for infantry fire support. It was envisaged that in the absence of enemy tanks on the battlefield, the anti-tank missile systems, operating in the battle formations of the attacking troops, would destroy the firing points that impede the offensive.
However, after the completion of the test program, the military demanded to eliminate a number of significant observations. MAW ATGMs with a maximum range of an 1370 sighting start-up and the closest border of the affected area were 460-m, which was unacceptable for a light anti-tank complex. Also required to improve the sight and guidance equipment missiles. The condition for the adoption of anti-tank systems was the introduction of sighting equipment night illumination sight. In addition, the shooters who tested the MAW ATGM system noted that the developers, in pursuit of a decrease in the mass of the complex, made it too tender by using aviation technology. The weapons used by infantry on the battlefield, transported in armored personnel carriers and landed from the air, should have a large margin of safety, even to the detriment of compactness and with an increased mass.
As a result, the MAW wearable anti-tank complex has undergone significant alteration. Tests of the new version, designated XM47, began in May 1971. Such a significant delay is due to the fact that the customer, represented by the US military, largely lost interest in short-range guided anti-tank weapons because of the Vietnam War. However, at the beginning of the 70-x after the appearance of information about the adoption in the USSR of the new T-64 tank, the portable anti-tank system became again one of the priority programs. The acceptance tests were completed by January 1972, and in the spring of 1972, experienced troop tests began to identify and correct the deficiencies found in conditions as close as possible to the combat ones. Launching of the complex was delayed, and it was adopted under the designation МХNUMX Dragon took place in 47 year.
Compared with the MAW ATGM system, the M47 Dragon complex has become significantly heavier. Its combat weight was 15,4 kg, with a nighttime thermal sight - 20,76 kg. The length of the launcher - 852 mm. The outer diameter of the launch tube is 292 mm. ATGM caliber - 127 mm. Rocket launch weight - 10,7 kg. Penetration - 400 mm of homogeneous armor, at an angle of meeting 90 °. Firing range - 65-950 m. Flight time ATGM at the maximum range - 11 with.
Launcher M47 Dragon and ATGM
The hardware of the complex includes a 6 multiple optical sight, an infrared direction finder for an ATGM tracer, an electronics unit and a rocket launch mechanism. For use at night, the installation of a thermal sight was provided. As of 1980 year, the cost of one complex with an AN / TAS-5 night-vision device was estimated at $ 51000.
Due to the design features of the complex, fire from it was conducted mainly in a sitting position with a support on a two-legged bipod. Although the complex did not weigh too much and could be carried by one member of the calculation, due to the recoil and a strong change of the center of gravity, shooting from the shoulder was impossible.
For effective use of ATGM Dragon shooter had to be sufficiently trained and have psychological stability. After the target was locked into the sight and the trigger was pulled, the shot did not occur immediately. After activating the disposable chemical electric battery, the shooter heard an increasing howl of the spinning gyroscope, after which a sharp start accelerator slam and a rocket started. At this point, poorly trained ATGM operators from unexpected returns and changes in centering often lost sight of the target, leading to a miss.
When creating the Dragon ATGM, the original scheme was implemented, in which the usual sustainer engine and control wheels are missing, which in turn made it possible to achieve high weight perfection. After launching, maintaining the rocket and adjusting the course of the rocket with a relatively low speed occurred due to the successive combustion of solid fuel charges and the expiration of powder gases from oblique micromotor nozzles arranged in several rows on the lateral surface of the rocket body. The executive control unit contains 60 micromotors combined into 3 sections of 20 each. The operation of micromotors occurred every half second, while the flight of the ATGM was accompanied by a characteristic pulsating sound. In the tail part of the rocket there are onboard equipment, a coil of a wire command transmission line, a modulated IR emitter and spring-loaded wings that unfold when the rocket leaves the transport and launch container. Since the flight is in flight, the course and pitch of the ATGM are adjusted alternately by solid-fuel micromotors, the rocket on the trajectory undergoes significant fluctuations, which in turn leads to a significant variation in the point of impact. At the remote launch range, the probability of hitting a fixed target with a width of 3 m and a height of 2 m was estimated to be 80%.
Soon after the commencement of operation in the troops, it became clear that, despite the revision of the ATGM, the Dragon is quite gentle and capricious. At temperatures below - 25 ° C disposable starting electric battery refused to work. The electronic part of the guidance equipment was exposed to high humidity and required protection from rain. Quite often, when shooting, there was a cable break, through which guidance commands were transmitted, micromotors were not always reliably worked out, which led to a breakdown of guidance. The overall coefficient of technical reliability of the ATGM Dragon was 0,85, which, combined with the characteristics of the application, did not contribute to the popularity of the anti-tank complex among American infantrymen. Moreover, the troops stationed in Alaska and the marines, when there was a risk of wetting their weapons, preferred to use the old proven 90-mm M67 rocket launchers. Nevertheless, among the second-generation complexes adopted for service, the Dragon was the lightest and could be carried by a single soldier. Guidance equipment was installed on a transport and launch container made of fiberglass when brought into a firing position. Mass TPK with a rocket when transporting 12,9 kg.
McDonnell Douglas and Raytheon supplied the US Army 7 000 launchers and 33 000 missiles. Approximately 3000 PU and 17 000 ATGM was exported to 15 countries. The operation of the M47 Dragon in the US military continued until the 2001 year, after which the complexes were taken to the reserve.
It should be noted that by the end of 70, the US military had begun to harshly criticize the characteristics and combat capabilities of the Dragon ATGM. The generals demanded to increase reliability, accuracy and armor penetration. In 1986, the ATCM Dragon II was adopted. Due to the use of the new element base, additional sealing and hardening of the case, it was possible to increase the reliability of the hardware. The accuracy of the upgraded ATGM has increased by about 2 times. At the same time, the cost of the rocket was relatively low - $ 15 000. Thanks to the use of a more powerful and heavier cumulative warhead, armor penetration was brought to 450 mm. The launch range remains the same. The complex was staffed with a thermal imaging sight. Due to the increase in the mass of the ATGM, some hardening of the guidance equipment and the introduction of the night channel, the weight of the Dragon II ATGM in combat was 24,6 kg.
The calculation of the Dragon II ATGM in combat position
In 1993, the development of the Dragon II + ATGM with a new missile was completed. The launch range of the new ATGM was brought to 1500 m using high-efficiency solid fuel. The maximum flight speed of the Dragon II + ATGM is 265 m / s. To improve armor penetration and the ability to overcome dynamic protection, the new ATGM is equipped with a tandem-shaped cumulative warhead with a spring-loaded telescopic bar, which is advanced after the launch of the rocket.
In December, 1993 of the right to manufacture PTRC Dragon was bought by Conventional Munition Systems Inc, whose specialists created an improved anti-tank complex Super Dragon. The ATGM was improved in terms of increasing reliability, pointing accuracy, noise immunity and increasing the range to 2000 m. For this, a new control equipment and a lightweight rocket were created based on fiber-optic cable based on modern components. ATGM Super Dragon is equipped with a tandem cumulative warhead, the same as on the Dragon II +. However, high-explosive cumulative warhead and incendiary warhead were additionally developed for Super Dragon. According to American data, the Dragon II + and Super Dragon ATGMs were not put into service in the United States. These developments were used to upgrade complexes for export.
In addition to the US licensed production of ATGW Dragon was conducted in Switzerland. A modernized version produced in the Alpine Republic is known as the Dragon Robot. The Swiss ATGM is distinguished by the fact that it consists of a launcher with two transport-launch containers for ATGMs of the Dragon II + and a remote control panel. The guidance operator can be located up to 100 m from the PU, which eliminates the impact of negative factors during launch and improves the accuracy of targeting, as well as reduces losses among the calculations, if the enemy detects the ATGM position at the time of the missile launch.
Apparently, the first combat use of the MNNXX Dragon ATGM took place during the Iran-Iraq war. During the reign of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, Iran was the purchaser of the most advanced American weapons, and the order for a light anti-tank complex was issued even before the Dragon-Tank missile system was officially adopted in the United States. There are no details as to how effectively the M47 Dragon was used during the war, but in the 47-ies Iran began producing an unlicensed copy, which received the Iranian designation Saeghe. For the Saeghe 90 variant with an improved guidance system, an ATGM with a high-explosive fragmentation warhead was also created. It is reported that the Iranian ATGM Saeghe 2 from 2, the years used by the Iraqi army against the Islamists.
Following Iran, Israel became the buyer of the M47 Dragon ATGM. According to SIPRI, the first batch of an ATGM and a PU was ordered in December 1975 of the year, that is, at the same time that the ATGM was adopted in the United States. The Israel Defense Forces used Dragon ATGMs in anti-tank platoons of fire support infantry battalions up to 2005.
Israeli soldier with MNNXX Dragon ATGM. Lebanon, June 47 of the year
The baptism of the M47 Dragon ATGM in the American armed forces took place in October 1983, during the invasion of Grenada. Since, apart from the five BTR-60, there were no other armored vehicles in Grenada, the American marines destroyed firing points with anti-tank guided missiles. ATXM M47 Dragon in the 1991 year were in the US units involved in the campaign against Iraq. However, the complex did not show itself.
US marines with the M47 Dragon ATGM in the stowed position during Operation Rage Outbreak. October 1983 of the year
Currently, the ATGM Dragon is in service in Jordan, Morocco, Thailand, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Apparently, these second-generation light complexes with a semi-automatic guidance system are now being used by Saudis in combat operations in Yemen. Not so long ago, the Yemeni Hussites, opposing the Arab coalition of the united Saudi Arabia, demonstrated captured anti-tank systems. At the moment, in most countries where the M47 Dragon anti-tank systems were previously in service, they have been replaced by modern anti-tank complexes Spike and FGM-148 Javelin.
To be continued ...