Bulsae-4 M-2018 NLOS ATGM
Non-Line-of-Sight (NLOS) fiber optic guided missile systems are capable of engaging both rotary wing and armored targets (stationary or moving) at extended ranges (15-25 km). Once launched, the missile flies a non-ballistic trajectory (altitude 100-300 meters), thereby reducing the chances of radar detection and increasing the survivability of the missile crew. During flight, the missile transmits TV data back to the gunner allowing him to "see what the missile sees."
North Korea revealed footage of a helicopter-launched anti-tank missile on Pyongyang’s state-run Korean Central Television (KCTV) on June 2, 2016. The video is a compilation of footage from a variety of military events including inspections and tours by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as well as tests and demonstrations of weapon systems. The footage of the missile shows an anti-tank guided missile launched from a Mi-2 helicopter. The footage follows the missile as it arcs upward before moving toward the ground.
The combat vehicle of the complex is a launch package of eight containers with missiles, placed on the chassis of a North Korean M-2010 wheeled armored personnel carrier in the 6x6 version. This system is a kind of analog of modern versions of the Israeli long-range anti-tank missile system Rafael Spike-ER and similar systems created in Japan (type 96), China (AFT-10), Serbia (ALAS), and the like. Presumably, the missile uses an electro-optical guidance head in combination with command guidance over a fiber-optic cable (the antennas of the radio command guidance system used in the Israeli Spike-NLOS are not visible on the North Korean complex's launcher). Video footage of tests, apparently, of this system, but in a version with a launch from a helicopter, were shown in a video clip of the DPRK television, which appeared on the Internet on June 1, 2018.
The origin of this weapon produced by North Korea has not been announced, but observing its launchers, it can be seen many similarities with the self-propelled anti-tank AFT-10 of China. China has historically remained a key supplier of military technology and technology to North Korea, so it would not be surprising if this new weapon will receive Beijing's help in its development. This weapon after being launched will drag a long optical cable and transmit the image directly from the probe to the gunner's control device to select the target. This weapon after being launched will drag a long optical cable and transmit the image directly from the probe to the gunner's control device to select the target.
Israel’s NT Spike is a family of related antitank missiles sharing common sub-systems that was first unveiled in 1997. In 2009, Rafael announced the new Spike NLOS version which uses a substantially larger fuselage and engine to push its range out to 25 km. Rafael has also debuted a very small version called Mini-Spike in 2012. Spike-NLOS uses the same guidance package as the Spike, including the terminal fiber optic link for the first 8 km, but then employs a radio command data link out beyond eight kilometers.
Guided missiles for targeting surface targets (i.e., air-to-surface and surface-to-surface missiles) are configured for very different operating conditions, and therefore differ greatly from air-to-air missiles. For example, missiles for targeting surface targets typically do not require such high speeds, and are typically subsonic or at most around the speed of sound. Many guided missiles provide capabilities for following progress of the missile in flight and correcting, or even changing, the target during flight. Particularly in such cases, relatively slow speeds are preferred to allow time for controlling the missile. The combination of lower speeds, lower maneuverability and often relatively high weight avoid many of the problems of aerodynamic control, particularly of the roll parameter, present in air-to-air missiles. As a result, missiles for surface targets commonly employ a set of four fins for controlling pitch, yaw and roll.
Some anti-tank missiles are used to attack a target which is obscured from direct view of the launch location. Such situations are typically classified in the art as "BLOS" ("beyond the line of sight") for situations where the target is immediately behind a visible cover or "NLOS" ("no line of sight") for situations where some intervening object (e.g., a hill or building) obscures the region of the target. In either case, the target can be attacked by launching a missile along an elevated flight path until the obscuring obstacle no longer obstructs view of the target and then locking-on to the target. In a BLOS scenario, the missile is typically initially locked-on to the cover or another object adjacent to the target and then the target is updated ("fire-and-update") when the target comes into view.
For NLOS scenarios, the missile is typically launched along an initial flight path under inertial guidance and locks on to the target during flight (LOAL-"lock-on-after-launch"). For shorter ranges, however, existing surface-to-surface missiles lack sufficient maneuverability to start along a high flight path and still bend the flight path down sharply enough to reach the target. The problem becomes even more pronounced where a target is located immediately behind a shielding structure such as a wall or building so that it may not become clearly visible until the missile is almost overhead. Additionally, in the modern warfare arena, there is a growing need for pinpoint attack capabilities which can target terrorists or other specific localized threats located within a civilian environment with the minimum possible collateral damage.
It is known that armored military vehicles generally have their strongest armor (greatest thickness) on their respective sides, and on their respective front and back surfaces. The armor covering the top and the bottom of armored vehicles is generally somewhat thinner, less protective, and generally more susceptible to penetration than the armor on the sides of such vehicles. As a result, armored vehicles are generally known and/or thought to be more difficult to attack using weapons that have horizontal trajectories, and are more vulnerable to weapons following and/or exhibiting steep travel trajectories and weapons which may be launched or fired from directly above these vehicles.
Until relatively recently, the "threat" weapons or the weapons used to attack armored vehicles have been almost exclusively horizontal trajectory weapons. However, to exploit the higher vulnerability of the "topside" armor of military armored mobile vehicles, new weapons have been developed. Generally, these weapons can direct shaped charges and launch projectiles towards armored vehicles from a location directly above the vehicle.
This method obtains greatly increased warhead performance from existing missile warheads. The method permits use of these existing warheads, incorporating the improved efficiency, without physical modification to the warheads themselves. The method involves a different method of target attack, and is accomplished by a modification of the missile guidance (or other delivery mechanism) to achieve this improved efficiency. Incorporation of this method allows a direct fire, frontal impact missile to be used in a much more effective top attack mode, without suffering the warhead degradation presently imposed by other top attack methods.
A fly over missile is intentionally flown over the top of the target. A special target-approach sensor is required on the missile to detonate a down firing warhead. The warhead can be either a conventional shaped charge (jet), or a self forging fragment (kinetic energy slug), and is intended to attack the lightly armored turret top from a favorable vertical angle. However if the target-approach sensor fails to accurately find this precise location, the vertical attack approach still provides improved geometry.
The canted warhead method (jet), flies an impact trajectory, but due to the warhead cant angle, penetrates along a canted path. It can also incorporate the target-approach sensor of the fly - over implementation, to permit raising the (still flat) trajectory to reach thinner armor, but detonating on a near miss rather than flying by. The missile forward velocity, however, causes the forward jet motion, R, during the target penetration process. This causes a sawing effect, commonly called keyholing, which removes additional target metal in a longitudinal direction. The extra energy used to saw this slot is extracted from the jet, reducing its penetration depth capability.
The ballistic approach attempts to dive on the target at an advantageous, steep, angle of impact, but still fails to achieve the most desired vertical or near vertical impact. Conventional anti-tank terminal homing missile guidance requires a steep impact angle to maximize lethality. This is typically obtained by maneuvering the missile into a top attack trajectory.
Conventional terminal homing fire-and-forget missile systems include an on board target sensing device, such as a passive imaging sensor, which tracks the target and guides the missile to an intercept. The required accuracy of the tracking and guidance is dictated by the warhead lethality versus the intended target's capability to withstand attack. For an anti-tank terminal homing missile system with limited warhead capacity, the required three dimensional accuracy for both aimpoint selection and delivery of the warhead to that aimpoint, continues to become more difficult as tank designs are hardened against such missiles and desired ranges are extended, which compounds the accuracy of a desirable impact angle. The steeper the angle of impact, the more effective is the warhead performance.
Demands for increased munition portability, versatility, and ruggedness have lead to the recent development and implementation of containerized guided missiles, which are stowed within specialized launch containers prior to launch. As do non-containerized guided missiles, containerized guided missiles typically include a homing guidance system or "seeker" containing one or more electromagnetic ("EM") radiation sensors, which detect electromagnetic radiation emitted by or reflected from a designated target. A containerized guided missile also typically includes a nose-mounted seeker dome, which protects the seeker's components while enabling transmission of electromagnetic waves within the sensor bandwidth(s) through the dome and to the seeker's EM radiation sensors.
In contrast to many conventional guided missiles, containerized guided missiles are prone to dome contamination during missile launch. Guided by the walls of the surrounding launch container, exhaust from the missile's rocket motor flows over and around the missile body in an aft-fore direction during missile launch to blow-off the container cover and thereby facilitate passage of the missile through the container's open end. Direct exposure between the motor exhaust and seeker dome can thus occur during missile launch, which may result in the deposition of harsh chemicals, soot, and other exhaust materials over the dome's outer surface. Dome contamination can block, attenuate, or otherwise interfere with the transmission of electromagnetic signals through the dome and thereby negatively impact the missile's guidance capabilities.