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Javelin, a development of Blowpipe, was a short-range, shoulder launched, close air defence guided weapon system. Its primary role is the protection of combat units and static locations against low level air attack. Javelin is an evolution of the Blowpipe system. It is carried in a Land-Rover and trailer or a Spartan, but is manportable over short distances. Javelin was replaced by the Starstreak HVM.

The shortcomings of the Blowpipe antiaircraft missile included the impossibility of using it in adverse weather and at night, the limited possibilities for use against maneuvering and high-speed targets, and inadequate protection of radio command transmission lines from interference. For these reasons Great Britain developed and initiated series production of an improved modification of the system—the Javelin. It uses a semiautomatic line of sight command guidance system, which reduces the minimum effective range from 600-700 to 300 m and increases guidance accuracy at maximum range.

In contrast to the base model, the Javelin antiaircraft missile uses a miniature television camera unit in place of an infrared device to track the missile's tracers. Signals from the missile and the target are displayed on its screen. A computer selects a control signal proportional to the error between these signals, which is then transmitted to the missile by a radio command line. Thus the operator was relieved of the task of controlling the missile, which simplifies his work; however, this may make the Javelin less resistant to interference than the Blowpipe.

Light Forces Anti-Tank Guided Weapon (LFATGW)

The other British Javelin is the totally unrealted Light Forces Anti-Tank Guided Weapon (LFATGW), a man-portable guided missile system capable of destroying tanks and other armored vehicles out to a range of 2.5km to be operated by the United Kingdom Armed Forces. The requirement was met by the United States-made Javelin missile system, modified to meet specific elements of the UK requirement. The Javelin is a free flight missile with top attack capability. Javelin’s command launch unit and missile has a combined weight of 25.6kg. The missile alone weighs 15.5kg.

Javelin, the medium-range anti-tank guided weapon replacement for Milan, is an enhanced version of the American weapon proven on operations in Iraq and Afghanistan by US forces. The UK version has two significant enhancements – a more effective sight system and a tripod (for firing and observation). Javelin provides a step change in dismounted anti-armour and surveillance capability. It delivers longer range, greater lethality, significantly more powerful optics and a lighter load for the Infantryman. Although designed primarily to destroy tanks and light armoured vehicles, Javelin will also provide a potent, all-weather, day/night capability against fixed defences, such as bunkers and buildings.

In July 2005, the Light Forces Anti-Tank Guided Weapon also known as Javelin entered service with the Army some four months before the expected delivery date of November 2005 approved at Main Gate. Training was completed before the in-service date was declared and the equipment is fully operational. There are pressures that can drive a project to pass through Main Gate in a less than mature state. In particular, the obsolescence of existing equipment can create a sense of urgency for project teams which can give a project momentum as experienced by the Javelin missile team (that opted for a proven, modified-off-the-shelf procurement strategy to address a pressing need).

Starting in 2005, British troops Afghanistan used Javelin to blow up fortified enemy positions and mortar compounds. The system also provided an excellent 24-hour surveillance, target and acquisition capability to the troops. The missile identifies targets using thermal-imaging technology to deliver an explosive and precise punch. It is operated by a crew of two and has a range of up to 4km. The missile can be fired from enclosed spaces, providing enhanced flexibility and protection for its crew. Javelin is an invaluable asset to troops on the ground. Its accuracy and firepower mean they are now able to handle many more situations on the ground and reduce the need to call in close air support. The weapon is versatile and has the ability to deliver the warhead accurately on target. Troops had the ability to strike in day or night and in all weather conditions but more importantly Javelin gives us the ability to identify insurgent activity in all conditions.”

Javelin Joint Venture (JJV) is a company owned by Raytheon and Lockheed Martin. UK-based Selex produces seeker components and assemblies, with QinetiQ providing testing facilities. Announcing the contract award to the company Javelin Joint Venture, Minister for Defence Equipment and Support, Quentin Davies, said: “The Javelin weapon system gives our troops the battle-winning edge in Afghanistan and the fire-and-forget missile is proving its worth on the front line. Topping up the supplies of this very effective weapon will give our Armed Forces the firepower they need to ensure they have the upper hand against the Taliban.”

The Javelin system was technically mature at Main Gate having been in service with the US armed forces since 1996. This high level of maturity is seen as one of the key benefits of off-the-shelf procurement. However, the Project Team still had to manage a number of new system elements, notably modifications to the Command Launch Unit, training and safety issues, and United Kingdom industrial participation within a relatively short Demonstration Phase.

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Page last modified: 06-09-2013 18:39:43 ZULU