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Anti-Tank Guided Missiles - History

Tank year of
Armor resistance
against cumulative
ammunition, mm
Product Year of
M60A1 1962250 - 270 "Metis" 1978 460
M60A3 1978250 - 270 "Fagot-M" 1980 460
M1 1980 600 - 650 "Competition-M" 1980 600
Sturm-S 1980 660
"Brass knuckles" 1980 550
Cobra-M 1981 600
M1A1 1985650 - 700 "Reflex" 1985 700
M1A2 1994 850

During the Great Patriotic War there was a significant increase in the thickness of the armor of tanks, and, accordingly, the caliber and weight of anti-tank guns increased. If at the beginning of the war anti-tank guns (PTP) of 20-45 mm caliber were used, then at the end of the war the PTP caliber was within 85-128 mm. In the years 1943-1944. Soviet specialists investigated 726 cases of bombardment of our medium and heavy tanks and self-propelled guns with German PTP calibers of 75 and 88 mm. The study showed that at a distance of more than 1,400 m of the 75 mm PTP, 4.4% of the tanks were killed and 3.2% of the tanks out of 88 mm tanks (100% of the number of tanks dropped from cannon of this caliber at all distances).

How effectively to fight tanks at distances exceeding 2-3 km? For the first time this problem was solved in 1944 in Germany, where the world's first anti-tank guided missile (X-7) "Rotkappchen" ("Little Red Riding Hood") was created. In the design of the X-7, the guided X-4 projectile of the air-to-air class was taken as a basis. The main designer of both missiles (X-4 and X-7) was Dr. Max Kramer. Management of the X-7 was carried out by wire. A pair of wires connected the missile with the operator, who manually guided the projectile to the target. The control system is very close to the Düsseldorf system of the X-4 missile. Change the direction of flight of the projectile was carried out with the help of spoilers.

At the first stage of development of the ATGM, their potential was not properly assessed in the USSR. The creation of ATGMs abroad and their combat use did not go unnoticed in Moscow. In 1956, the Resolution of the Council of Ministers was issued on "the development of works on the development of guided antitank weapons." It should be noted that after the war in the USSR German GTTUR "Little Red Riding Hood" was used. In addition, the domestic research institutes received extremely fast working documentation for "Cobra", SS-10 \ SS-11, and also "live" these products.

And only on May 8, 1957, after the appearance of data on the use of SS.10 by France against Egypt in the 1956 war, the government issued a decree “On the creation of new tanks, self-propelled tank destroyers and jet-guided weapons for them”. It was planned to create 9 systems at once, 7 for tanks and 2 for infantry. Among the latter was “Bumblebee”, the development of which was carried out in the framework of the so-called “Themes #7”, in accordance with the additional decree of May 27, 1957.

In the mid-1950s, several projects were developed in the USSR, "UAV (guided anti-tank equipment). Note that Soviet designers developed ATGMs not only with wire control, but also radio-controlled ones. And in the UCS-5 operator visually observed the target through an optical sight. And in the UCS-7, the operator, who was in the tank, guided the equipment through a television image transmitted from the television head of the rocket. Manufactured and tested a number of experienced UPS, including a shell projector Nadiradze. The projectile was guided by wires. Its starting weight was 37 kg, caliber - 170 mm, and the range of stabilizers - 640 mm.

Some six decades have passed since the adoption of the first Soviet anti-tank missile system "Shmel". During this period there was a constant tough competition between the development of anti-tank weapons and the protection of tanks. In the Soviet Union, the KB instrument making (KBP), design bureau KB (KBM), KB of precision engineering (KBTM), with the participation of many organizations responsible for working out individual components and components, were engaged in the creation of ATGMs. It should be recalled that ATGM is a set of functionally connected combat and technical means designed to defeat armored targets. ATGM includes one or more missiles (ATGMs); launcher (PU); guidance equipment. The supporting means for ATGM are test equipment and simulators.

Russian ATGMs are divided into portable, mobile and mobile-portable. Note that PTRK ("Metis", "Bassoon", "Competition") are meant for portable ones, intended for strengthening the anti-tank defense of infantry units and having a small mass. The ATGMs (self-propelled, helicopter, tank, etc.) that are mounted on vehicles and used to carry out combat missions only from the side of the carrier belong to the vehicles. And, finally, there are hand-held ATGMs that are used as weapons mounted on a carrier and, when removed from it, can serve as a portable (for example, the Cornet ATGM). For the case of using the vehicle as a portable ATGM, there is a "tripod" on which the aiming device with the elements of the launcher attachment is installed.

Academician Arkady Georgievich Shipunov, who for many years headed the Tula Instrument Design Bureau, formulated and substantiated the three-link concept of anti-tank defense. The first link is an easy bearable medium-range complex. The second link is a mobile or long-range mobile complex and the third link is long-range aircraft-based complexes. For the first link - ATGM "Metis-M1" - light, wearable complex with a range of fire day and night to 2 km.

For the second link of the Russian army the self-propelled complex "Cornet-D1" is offered, for export its analogue "Kornet-EM". Both complexes provide a firing range of 8 to 10 km, are designed and manufactured in two versions. As the third link - an aviation-based complex - attack helicopters, both the Russian army and exported, can be euquiped with a set of guided weapons with a Vikhr rocket. This complex has a high-precision laser-beam control system with an effective shooting range up to 8 km.

During the last 30 years of the Cold War, no other class of weapons developed as actively as anti-tank weapons. It is unlikely that during this period there was a year when the new model would not be offered, it was a reflection of the awareness of the main threat of that time - the Soviet tank armies.

Depending on the type of control system used, the ATGM is divided into three generations. ATGMs of the first generation had a manual control system, in which the gunner, with the help of a sight, should follow simultaneously the missile and the target, manually generating control commands transmitted to the rocket by wires. The main drawback of this system is the requirement for great experience and training of gunners and the impossibility of increasing the speed of the rocket. The first generation of domestic ATGMs include Shmel, Malyutka, and Falanga with manual control systems.

The period of design and production of ATGM of the second generation is characterized by the rapid development of this type of weapons in the Soviet Union. But there was a lack of a single target program for creating promising models. In addition, there was inadequate orientation in development to achieve the advanced level of combat capabilities and tactical and technical characteristics of new samples in relation to the vulnerability characteristics of foreign objects of armored vehicles. There was also a dispersion of available forces, means and the presence in some cases of unjustified parallelism and duplication in the creation of ATGM.

Although there was information about the appearance of multi-layer armor and dynamic defense (DZ), the KB continued to create missiles with monoblock warheads with armor penetration, inferior to the resistance of the front fragments of protection of foreign tanks

ATGMs of the second generation had a semi-automatic guidance system, with which the gunner tracks the optical sight only for the purpose, and the tracking of the missile and the development of control commands are carried out automatically by ground-based equipment. However, the speed of unwinding the wires intended for the transfer of control commands to the rocket board limited the speed of its flight. For the case of using in the radio communication and laser control system (instead of wires), it becomes possible to control the flight of the rocket at supersonic speeds, which makes it possible to install ATGMs on helicopters and airplanes.

Now designers are on the verge of the appearance of third-generation missiles, when the missile will be aimed at the target on the trajectory without the participation of the operator. The operator should only "grab" the target with a sight before launching the rocket. After start-up, the operator can immediately switch to other targets.

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Page last modified: 28-04-2019 18:52:29 ZULU