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For the light AT infantry missiles the French-German Euromissile Consortium had the MILAN and the American party is represented bythe "Dragon." Milan is a second generation anti-tank weapon, the result of a joint development between France and West Germany with British Milan launchers and missiles built under licence in the UK.

The Euromissile MILAN (Missile d'Infanterie Leger Antichar) consists of two main components, the launcher and the missile; these are simply clipped together to prepare the system for use. On firing, the operator has only to keep his aiming mark on the target and the Semi Automatic Command to Line of Sight (SACLOS) guidance system will do the rest. The missile is guided for its entire trajectory by an automatic device of remote control using the infra-red radiation (MILAN 1) or an electronic-flash lamp (MILAN 2).

Milan, which was initially developed for the French and German infantry, is now in service in 41 countries all over the world. In 1983 the French, British, and West German defense ministers signed a memorandum of understanding concerning development of a new generation of antitank missiles that would very substantially increase the defense capability of the Western alliance's armed forces through the 1990's. The Euromissile Dynamics Group—Aerospatiale, British Aerospace, andMesserschmitt-Boelkow-Blohm (MBB) divided responsibilities in this program. Aerospatiale was prime contractor for the "short and medium-range" light infantry missile designed to replace the Milan system. According to the French company, this new missile was to be produced at the lowest possible cost. It was to be capable of piercing the stoutest armor plate and effectively withstanding enemy countermeasures.

This second-generation tube-launched spin-stabilised Anti-Tank Guided Weapon (ATGW) is capable of being launched from either ground or vehicle mounts. The weapon is fitted with a 103 mm calibre High Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT) warhead and Semi-Automatic Command to Line Of Sight (SACLOS) guidance that uses a 2 µm wavelength Infrared (IR) tracking system. All the gunner has to do to ensure a hit is to keep the cross-hairs of his optical or thermal imaging sight on the target.

In 1984 the MILAN 2 version entered service with the French, German and British armies. This uses an improved 115 mm calibre HEAT warhead with a 280 mm long standoff nose probe to optimise its anti-armour capabilities against the new armour. For night use there is the 8.5 kg MIRA 8 to 13 µm wavelength thermal imaging sight with a 4,000 m detection range. This is also used by France, Germany and the UK. Bharat Dynamics Limited, which also builds the MILAN 2 under licence, has developed with Euromissile the Flame-V and Flame-G adaptor kits (qv entry this section under India) to allow the MILAN 2 to be fired from the 9P135 series firing posts of the Russian Federation and Associated States (CIS) 9K113 Konkurs missile system.

The new-generation weapon MILAN 3 weapon system entered service with the French Army in 1995. The MILAN 3 comprises a firing post equipped with a new-generation localiser to reduce immunity to jamming systems. The MIRA thermal sight remains fully compatible to provide both a day and night firing capability. The MILAN 3 round is equipped with the tandem warhead and a lamp flashing unit to aid in guidance. The tracking system relies on a Charge Coupled Device (CCD).

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Page last modified: 29-12-2012 19:34:21 ZULU