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AT-7 Metis Saxhorn

The Russians characterize the AT-7 ATGM complex as light or manportable (5-20 kg), permitting long-distance carry by dismounted infantry. Although the AT-13 complex slightly exceeds 20 kg, it is close enough to fit into the category. Guidance elevation has a 15 span. Because the module is small and can be quickly corrected by shifting, elevation and field of view are operationally unlimited, and permit use against hovering or stationary helicopters. The Russian 1PN86V/Mulat-115 thermal sight is available for use on the launcher, with detection at 3,200 meters and recognition beyond the missile's 1,500 meter range. Field of view is 4.6.

The meaning of the nomnecalture "Metis" is not entirely clear. The literal translation of the Russian word "metis" is mestizo, crossbred, ladino, half-blood, or bastard. Probably the best rendering is "Mongrel".

The 9K115 Metis is a light-weight infantry anti-tank missile somewhat similar to the US Army MGM-52 Dragon or Aerospatiale Eryx. It was developed by the Tula KBP, headed by Arkadiy Shipunov, and introduced in 1979 to supplement the larger 9K111 Fagot at company level. The lighter weight of the system is due to a less sophisticated firing post and a lighter missile. The 9P151 Metis tripod firing post is only 10.2 kilograms compared to the 23 kilograms for the 9P135M firing post of the 9K111 Fagot. In terms of the missiles, the 9M115 Metis missile is only about half the weight of the 9M111 Fagot, with a weight of 4 versus 8 kilograms. The difference in weight is due to the smaller amount of rocket propellant in the 9M115 Metis missile. This is most evident in the range difference, with the Metis being credited with a maximum range of 1,000 meters, while the Fagot has a range of 2,500 meters.

The Metis has a variety of intriguing features. The 9S816 guidance system is powered by a thermal battery attached to front of the launch tube prior to launch. The missile contains no battery; necessary power is provided via the guidance wire at relatively high voltage. The system can be fired from the shoulder, as well as from the tripod, but this requires a great deal more skill. Like the French Eryx, the Metis can be fired from within an enclosed space such as a building, though it requires at least 6 meters of clear space behind and an internal volume of 100 meters cubed. The missile is launched from the cannister by a booster stage, not a gas generator as is found in the Fagot/Konkurs missiles also designed by the Tula KBP bureau.

The significant size and weight difference between the two missiles is due to their different roles. The AT-4 Spigot is deployed in Soviet BTR-equipped motor rifle battalions in a dedicated anti-armor platoon. (BMP battalions have organic anti-tank defense on their vehicles.) The AT-7 Saxhorn has been added to the inventory to deepen Soviet anti-tank defensive capabilities; it does not replace an existing weapon, but adds new capability. It is being deployed at a lower level than the AT-4 Spigot, in the motor rifle companies, with 3 launchers per company (for a total of 9 in the battalion).

The AT-7 Saxhorn is operated by a two man team. The gunner carries the 9P151 firing post and one 9M115 missile, and the assistant gunner carries three additional 9M115 missile cannisters. The missile's short minimum range is 40 meters, makes it more suitable for urban or close terrain fighting than the AT-4, which has a minimum range of 70 meters. The missile can engage targets moving at speeds up to 60 kilometers per hour. The basic 9M115 Metis has a unitary shaped charge warhead with penetration of 460 millimeters of RHA.



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