British infantry anti-tank weapons (part of 3)
By the mid-70s, anti-tank weapons available in the British Army, designed to arm individual riflemen, largely did not meet modern requirements and could not effectively deal with Soviet tanks. Individual anti-tank weaponsAt the disposal of the British infantrymen were the 75-mm rifle grenades No.94 and the disposable 66-mm rocket launchers L1A1 LAW66. However, the experience of hostilities in Indochina showed the low efficiency of American counterparts of these anti-tank weapons, and the British military leadership initiated the development of a one-time high-power grenade launcher, with increased accuracy and firing range. The 84-mm L14A1 MAW grenade launcher in the troops could confidently fight tanks that did not have multi-layer combined armor and dynamic protection at a distance of up to 300 m. But the British version of Carl Gustaf M2 was too heavy for use by individual fighters.
The development of a new anti-tank grenade launcher in the late 70-x was assigned to the state enterprise Royal Ordnance, which was the traditional supplier of small arms and artillery weapons of the British army. In 1981, the company Hunting Engineering was connected to the creation of a grenade launcher. In 1983, a sample was presented for testing, which received the designation LAW 80 (English Light Anti-armour Weapon for the 80 - 80's Light Anti-tank Weapons).
Conceptually, the British rocket launcher repeated the one-time US M72, but it had a caliber of 94-mm and weighed about 10 kg. The effective firing range is up to 300 m, the maximum is 500 m. The initial speed of the grenade is 240 m / s. A cumulative grenade weighing 4 kg is capable of penetrating 600 mm homogeneous armor. The warhead of the grenade is equipped with a bottom electric fuse with a piezo sensor in the head section, which provides an undermining at a meeting angle with a target up to 80 °. Stabilization of the projectile on the trajectory takes place with the help of four folding plastic feathers. To reduce the dispersion of the projectile, it rotates at a slow speed.
The starter consists of two telescopically extendable tubes. At the first stage, the pipes were made of several layers of glass fabric impregnated with epoxy resin, but on serial samples the glass fabric was replaced with Kevlar. The pipes in the stowed position are shifted and closed with elastic plastic covers, ensuring tightness and protection from mechanical damage. An elastic belt for transporting the weapon is attached to the upper surface of the trigger. After removing the back cover, the pipe with the grenade moves to the position in which it is automatically fixed. Unlike the American 66-mm M72 grenade launcher on the LAW 80, it is possible to transfer back from the combat position to the traveling position. Length in the stowed position - 1000 mm, in combat - 1500 mm. Time of transfer from marching to martial law - 10 with.
On the left side of the launch tube is an optical sight of plastic, in the stowed position, it is protected by a movable cover. In order to be able to fire at night, the sight is equipped with a tritiated reticle. It is also possible to install a Kite nightlight 4x multiple-purpose under-sight sight with a vision range of up to 400 m. The weight of the 1 night sight kg, continuous operation time without replacing power sources is 36 h.
To increase the likelihood of hitting a target, an 9-mm sighting rifle is installed in the lower front part of the launch tube. Like the starting device, the rifle is disposable, its reloading and further use is not provided. In order to maximize the weight and cost of its trunk is made of aluminum alloy. The trigger switch has two positions and allows shooting either with a rifle or with a grenade launcher. For the adjustment, a tracer cartridge is used, whose ballistics at a distance of up to 500 m coincides with the trajectory of a grenade flight. After the shooter is convinced that the aiming of the weapon is correct and the tracer bullets hit the intended target, he switches the trigger mechanism and, with the same sight set-up, the rocket grenade is launched. With a small shooting range, tracer bullets may not be adjusted.
In 1986, the British Defense Department entered into a contract for £ 200 million with Hunting Engineering. Over 10 years, thousands of grenade launchers and 250 electronic simulators were produced. In addition to the British army and royal marines 500 thousand grenade launchers purchased Jordan. LAW 3 was also in service in Oman and Sri Lanka. At the start of the 80, a British grenade launcher was tested in the US, and it was one of the bidders in the competition to replace the 80-mm Viper disposable grenade launcher. In the case of a contract, Hunting Engineering was ready to supply grenade launchers for $ 70 per unit. However, the Americans preferred the Swedish 1300-mm AT84 disposable grenade launcher.
On the basis of the LAW 80 grenade launcher, at the end of the 80-s, an autonomous self-propelled lawless anti-tank mine, Minemine, was created. It was envisaged that anti-tank mines capable of being in standby mode for up to 15 days would be placed on the routes of Soviet tanks in Western Europe and independently hit them at a distance of up to 100 m. Their activation was to be carried out using acoustic and laser sensors. The sighting rifle on the mine was missing. However, later this program was recognized as too expensive, and mass production of jet mines was not conducted.
Given that the production of the grenade launcher was completed in the 1997 year, and the warranty period for storing the product is 10 years, it is very likely that the majority of users have already written off the existing LAW 80. In connection with the removal of LAW 80 weapons, the Ministry of Defense of the United Kingdom purchased the 2500 disposable L2A1 ILAW grenade launchers as a temporary measure. This model is an analogue of the Swedish-American grenade launcher M136 / AT4. A cheaper alternative has become a new modification of the well-known American M72 grenade launcher. Model L72A9 in the British army received the name LASM (English Light Anti-Structures Missile - Light anti-structural rocket).
66-mm LASM grenade launcher weighing 4,3 kg is a versatile weapon suitable for attacking light armored vehicles, manpower and the destruction of field fortifications. The British got acquainted with this rocket launcher and evaluated it in practice during the “anti-terrorist” campaign in Afghanistan, during joint actions with the Americans. Compared with the L2A1 ILAW, the new version of the M72 is a much lighter and more compact weapon, which is especially important for small units operating in mountainous areas.
Another British acquisition, made on the basis of the experience gained during the “antiterrorist” campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq, was the one-time MATADOR 90 grenade launcher (English Man-portable Anti-Tank, Anti-DOoR) ).
The grenade launcher MATADOR is a joint development of the Singapore State Agency DSTA and the Israeli Defense Corporation Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd, with the participation of the German company Dynamit Nobel AG. It is reported that when creating a new grenade launcher used technical solutions used previously in the German 67-mm RPG Armbrusts. In particular, the technology of using a counterweight from plastic granules is completely borrowed. The grenade from the barrel is ejected using a powder charge located between the two pistons. While the front piston throws a grenade out, the rear one pushes the counterweight in the opposite direction, which allows you to safely shoot from a closed room.
The first option, known as MATADOR-MP, was designed to destroy armored vehicles with homogeneous armor thickness up to 150 mm and could pierce a hole in the 450 mm brick wall. An inertial fuse when firing at soft targets, such as a barricade of sandbags or an earthen mound, produces an explosion at the moment of maximum penetration of the projectile into an obstacle. On the Picatinny rail, the installation of a night sight or a laser rangefinder is provided.
The Matador-WB grenade launcher is designed to destroy brick and concrete walls and is especially effective in urban environments. According to advertising data, after a “anti-material” grenade hits a standard reinforced concrete slab used for walling in urban areas, an opening with a diameter from 750 to 1000 mm is formed, into which the soldier with full ammunition is able to creep.
In the 2009 year, shortly after the end of Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli media released information that Matador grenade launchers performed very well during the hostilities in the Gaza Strip against the armed forces of the Palestinian movement Hamas.
In the British army under the designation ASM L2A1 adopted grenade launcher Matador-AS (from the English. Anti-Structure). This sample weighing 8,9 kg and a length of 1000 mm is capable of hitting targets at a distance of up to 500 m. A grenade with a tandem warhead has an initial speed of 250 m / s and is equipped with an adaptive fuse that independently selects the moment of detonation depending on the properties of the obstacle. The grenade launcher can be used to combat lightly armored combat vehicles and destroy manpower hiding in bunkers and outside the walls of buildings.
The L2A1 ILAW, LASM, ASM L2A1 grenade launchers available in the British Army, like the LAW 80 already removed from service, are quite limited in terms of the destruction of modern tanks with combined multi-layered armor. As a full-fledged replacement of the LAW 80 grenade launcher by the British military, a light anti-tank missile complex was considered, which is similar in use to the American FGM-172 SRAW, adopted by the USMC in 2001.
The new ATGM, designated MBT LAW (Main Battle Tank and Light Anti-tank Weapon), is a joint British-Swedish development. Also, the weapon is sometimes referred to as NLAW (English New Light Anti-tank Weapon - new light anti-tank weapons). During the creation of a one-time anti-tank complex, the developments of the Swedish company Saab Bofors Dynamics were used on AT4 family grenade launchers and RBS 56B BILL 2 ATGMs and the achievements of the British aerospace giant Thales Air Defense Limited.
As in the American FGM-172 SRAW, before launching the MBT LAW rocket during 3-5, the target movement parameters are captured. After launch, the inertial guidance system automatically keeps the rocket on the line of sight, amending the target moving speed, crosswind and range. But unlike the American complex, in which the operating time in the prelaunch mode did not exceed 12 since, after which the battery was replaced, the MBT LAW guidance operator has the ability to repeatedly turn the guidance unit on and off during target pickup. Thus, MBT LAW at close distances combines the capabilities of anti-tank systems with the ease of use of RPGs. For aiming the weapon at the target a simple optical sight is used, but night thermal imaging can be optionally installed.
The head of the rocket has a caliber 150-mm, and the body - 115-mm. Undermining of the warhead occurs at the command of magnetic and laser sensors, with the missile flying over the target. There is also the possibility of hitting the target as a result of a direct hit. The mode is selected by the operator before starting.
The cumulative charge with a diameter of 102-mm is structurally similar to the warhead used in the Swedish ATGM RBS 56B BILL 2. Its armor penetration is not disclosed, but according to expert estimates it is at least 500 mm, which is more than enough to defeat the relatively thin upper armor of the tank. This was confirmed during the field tests in which the Soviet-made T-72 main battle tank was used. At the same time in the tank was placed explosive in the amount of equivalent ammunition of 22 125-mm shells.
Disposable ATGMs can hit armored vehicles at a distance of up to 600 m. The arming of the fuse occurs in 20 m from the muzzle. The flight time of the missile at a range of 400 m - about 2 with. The relatively small mass of the MBT LAW disposable ATGM system - 12,5 kg, makes it possible to carry it and use it by one soldier. Launch tube length - 1016 mm.
The ATTM MBT LAW implemented a soft start technology, which was previously tested by Saab Bofors Dynamics on a special modification of the AT4 CS disposable grenade launcher. Due to this, it is possible to launch a rocket from the premises. This certainly facilitates the use of anti-tank complex in urban environments and expands its tactical capabilities.
In 2005, the governments of Great Britain and Sweden agreed on the joint production of MBT LAW ATGMs and the supply of weapons for export. The plant of the corporation Thales Air Defense Ltd, located in Northern Ireland, became the head manufacturer of the ATGM for the British and Swedish armies, and the complexes for the Finnish army were decided to be manufactured at the plant of the Swedish company SBD. The preliminary order issued by the Department of Defense of the United Kingdom amounted to 20 thousand copies at a cost of one MBT LAW ATGM system in 2008 a year € 25 000.
The first batch of anti-tank complexes was transferred to the British military at the end of 2008. In the same year, Finland ordered a batch of light disposable ATGMs worth € 38 million. Indonesia, Switzerland and Saudi Arabia also became buyers of MBT LAWs. A new short-range ATGM was available to the British military contingent in Afghanistan. However, there were no worthy goals for him. The first MBT LAW in the battle used the Saudis during the invasion of Yemen. It is reported that the ATGM MBT LAW in 2015 was used against the Hussite armored vehicles during the fighting for the port city of Aden.
Due to the relatively high combat and service-performance characteristics of the MBT LAW anti-tank systems, anti-tank weapons experts rate them higher than the American light-weight one-off complex FGM-172 SRAW, which has now been taken out of service. The designers of the British-Swedish ATGM managed to create a more reliable and easy-to-use weapon, with a fairly high probability of hitting the target from the first shot.
However, the MBT LAW anti-tank complex, due to its high cost, cannot be considered a full-fledged replacement of disposable grenade launchers, since it is not realistic to equip every fighter with them. It is not economically profitable for each target on the battlefield to use ammunition that exceeds it in cost several times.
In the middle of 90, British British Aerospace, together with French Aerospatiale and German Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm GmbH, carried out work on the creation of medium-range anti-tank missiles with the guidance of an ATGM using the laser path method. The new anti-tank complex, designated TRIGAT-MR (English Third Generation AntiTank, Long Range - anti-tank missile of the third generation short range), was intended to replace the second-generation anti-tank systems of the second generation MILAN, HOT and Swingfire with the transfer of control commands over a wired line. The use of laser radiation for targeting an anti-tank missile made it possible to increase the flight speed of the rocket and increase the noise immunity of the complex. The use of such a guidance system, as in the complexes of the second generation, required constant tracking of the target by the operator, but at the same time, this option was much cheaper than anti-tank missiles, in which the principle of "fired and forgotten" is implemented. The dimensions and mass of the TRIGAT-MR should have remained approximately the same as those of the MILAN ATGM, and the launch range should be 2400-2600 m. From the very beginning it was envisaged that the ATGM would be equipped with a tandem-shaped cumulative warhead with armor penetration up to 1000 mm.
It was assumed that after the start of mass production, the UK would purchase at least 600 launchers with guidance equipment and thermal night sights and 18 000 missiles. However, in 1998, the British government officially announced its withdrawal from the TRIGAT project.
The launch of the FGM-148 Javelin rocket to the military personnel of the British 12 th mechanized brigade at the Salisbury training ground
The consequence of this decision was that currently in the British armed forces in service consists of a US-launched anti-tank missile system FGM-148 Javelin. With all the advantages of “Dart” with a launch range of up to 2500 m, the cost of one rocket in 2017 year was more than $ 120 thousand.
Opponents of the ATGM FGM-148 Javelin acquisition indicate that in the event of a collision with an enemy that has numerous armored vehicles at its disposal, limited stocks of extremely expensive Javelin missiles can be quickly spent and the British army will actually be without anti-tank weapons. In this regard, alternatives are being considered for the procurement of relatively inexpensive portable anti-tank complexes with a greater range of applications. In this respect, the Spike-LR ATGM with a launch range of more than 5000 m, offered by the Israeli company Rafael, looks quite attractive. This seems quite probable given the experience of operating and combat use of the long-range Spike-NLOS (Non Line Of Sight - Out of Sight) missile system in the UK, which has the designation Exactor Mk 1 in the UK.
The Spike-NLOS guided missile system in the number of 14 units with a total 700 ammunition of missiles was purchased in 2007 and was deployed on non-typical for the British army M113 armored personnel carriers. The mass of the guided missile in the TPK is about 71 kg. The launch range is up to 25 km. Depending on the task to be performed, the missile can be equipped with a cumulative, armor-piercing-high-explosive or high-explosive fragmentation warhead. When attacking a target, a combined guidance system is used, with dual-mode television and infrared homing and radio command control.
After training personnel, the Exactor Mk 1 was sent to Iraq in August 2007, where during the battles for Basra they successfully suppressed the rebel mortar batteries and delivered sudden high-precision strikes at command posts, observation posts and firing points. Based on the experience of combat use, Israeli-made missile systems were highly appreciated. In 2009, the Exactor Mk 1 self-propelled anti-aircraft missile systems were transferred from Iraq by military transport aircraft aviation to Afghanistan, where they became part of the 39th Royal Artillery Regiment. Then the British army ordered a batch of new Mk 5 missiles with a dual-channel seeker. The cost of one rocket is $ 100 thousand.
Prior to 2011, the presence of Exactor Mk 1 missiles in the British Army was not officially recognized. In order to camouflage the secret missile systems, the M113 armored personnel carriers on which they were stationed, by hanging sets of additional armor and fake elements, were made up under the British tracked armored personnel carriers FV432.
In 2012, the UK ordered Rafael to develop a light towed launcher of the Spike-NLOS complex. The towed launcher received the designation Exactor Mk 2 and was officially put into service in 2013. The installation is a single-axle trailer with four missiles in the TPK and radio command guidance equipment. The control operator's station can be moved to a distance of up to 500 m from the launcher. As a means of target designation for the Exactor Mk 2 complex, Drones.
- Linnik Sergey
- British infantry anti-tank weapons (part of 1)
British infantry anti-tank weapons (part of 2)
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