New NATO Military Technology is keeping Estonia safe from invading tanks. The FGM-148 Javelin is an American man-portable fire-and-forget anti-tank missile fielded to replace the M47 Dragon anti-tank missile in US service.
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. This missile also has the ability to engage helicopters in the direct attack mode. It can reach a peak altitude of 150 m (500 ft) in top-attack mode and 60 m in direct-fire mode. It 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 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; 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 change their position as soon as the missile has been launched, or prepare to fire on their next target while the first missile is still in the air.
The missile system is most often carried 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, watches for threats, such as enemy vehicles and troops, and ensures that personnel and obstacles are clear of the missile's back blast.
Type Anti-tank missile
Place of origin United States
In service 1996–present
Used by See Operators
Wars Operation Enduring Freedom (2001–present)
Operation Iraqi Freedom / Operation New Dawn (20 March 2003 – 15 December 2011)
Designer Texas Instruments and Martin Marietta
(now Raytheon and Lockheed Martin)
Designed June 1989
Manufacturer Raytheon and Lockheed Martin
Unit cost US$246,000(FY2014) (FGM-148F)
Number built 40,000
Weight 22.3 kg (49.2 lb) (carry weight)
Detachable CLU: 6.4 kg (14.1 lb)
Length Missile: 1.1 m (43 in)
Launch tube: 1.2 m (47 in)
Diameter Missile: 127 mm (5.0 in)
Launch tube: 142 mm (5.6 in)
Effective firing range 75 to 2,500 m
Maximum firing range 4,750 m (tested)
Warhead Tandem shaped charge HEAT
Warhead weight 8.4 kg (18.5 lb)
Engine Solid fuel rocket
Two marines walking along the edge of a field, one of them carrying a Javelin missile tube
US Marine carrying a Javelin missile during Operation Moshtarak in Marjeh, Afghanistan 2010
The Javelin missile’s tandem warhead is a HEAT type. This round utilizes an explosive shaped charge to create a stream of superplastically deformed metal formed from trumpet-shaped metallic liners. The result is a narrow high velocity particle stream that can penetrate armor.
The Javelin counters the advent of explosive reactive armor (ERA). ERA boxes or tiles lying over a vehicle’s main armor explode when struck by a warhead. This explosion does not harm the vehicle’s main armor, but causes steel panels to fly across the path of a HEAT round’s narrow particle stream, disrupting its focus and leaving it unable to cut through the main armor. The Javelin uses two shaped-charge warheads in tandem. The weak, smaller diameter HEAT precursor charge pushes through the ERA without setting it off, and punches a channel through it for the much larger diameter HEAT warhead, which then penetrates the target’s primary armor.
A two-layered molybdenum liner is used for the precursor and a copper liner for the main warhead.
To protect the main charge from the explosive blast, shock, and debris caused by the impact of the missile's nose and the detonation of the precursor charge, a blast shield is used between the two charges. This was the first composite material blast shield and the first that had a hole through the middle to provide a jet that is less diffuse.
A newer main charge liner produces a higher velocity jet. While making the warhead smaller, this change makes it more effective, leaving more room for propellant for the main rocket motor, and thus increasing the missile's range.
Electronic arming and fusing, called Electronic Safe Arming and Fire (ESAF), is used. The ESAF system enables the firing and arming process to proceed, while imposing a series of safety checks on the missile. ESAF cues the launch motor after the trigger is pulled. When the missile reaches a key acceleration point (indic