Rob Lee, a Ph.D. candidate and maybe Twitter’s most renowned curator of Russo-Ukrainian war films, just shared footage of a Javelin ATGM attack against a Russian tank. The strike was attributed to Ukraine’s 54th Mechanized Brigade. Lee said that the tank was “perhaps abandoned.” 1945 has not independently confirmed the footage’s validity.
The Javelin missile “soft-launches,” meaning it burns outside of the launching tube, then rises into a top-attack trajectory before plummeting into the stationary tank and colliding with the vehicle’s top.
What exactly is a javelin?
The FGM-187 Javelin is an anti-tank-guided missile made in the United States. After its introduction in 1996, the Javelin has been in service for three decades. By comparison, the M47 Dragon, the Javelin’s predecessor, was primitive. The M47’s operator relied on a wire-guided tracking system, which was problematic because it used a simple wire that spooled behind the missile, effectively tethering the operator to the in-flight missile, requiring the operator to sit tight until the missile he launched made contact with the its target.
The Javelin, on the other hand, has an infrared guiding system that follows the light emissions of a target. The infrared guidance system is a “fire and forgets” system, which means the operator can opt to seek cover rather than sit tight as the missile follows its target.
Two different flying profiles are used by the Javelin. The top-attack flight profile, as shown in the recently released film, is one of them. The Javelin can use a top attack to assault armored vehicles from above, where their armor is usually the weakest.
After launching, the Javelin missile has a steep, ascending trajectory, reaching a peak height of 490 feet in top-attack mode. The second Javelin flight profile is the direct-attack mode, which is more “straightforward.” The Javelin follows a relatively straight flight path in direct-attack mode, reaching a maximum height of only 200 feet.
For strikes against helicopters, concealed objects, and fortifications, a direct attack is suitable. For any flight profile, a soft launch is employed.
The Javelin fires a high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) warhead regardless of the flight profile. A shape charge device is used as the warhead. The energy of a collision is directed by a shaped charge. When it comes to the HEAT warhead, the impact energy is aimed to breach armor. The HEAT warhead has an explosive charge that collapses a metal liner stored inside the warhead for this purpose. When the metal lining breaks down, a high-velocity superplastic jet emerges, piercing the opponent’s armor.
Thousands of Javelin systems were sent to Ukraine by the US and NATO in 2018. Now, in preparation for a Russian invasion, Ukrainian forces are employing the Javelin weapons to destroy hundreds of Russian tanks and thousands of Russian armored vehicles. The Javelin has become a powerful emblem of Ukraine’s resistance. The picture of “Saint Javelin” has become quite popular. Mary Magdalene is shown with a Javeniline system.
Observers are concerned about supply chain concerns, notwithstanding Javenlin’s historical performance. According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the US has already committed about a third of its available Javelin missiles to Ukraine. However, the US is unlikely to be able to refill the loaned Javelins, and because Russian tanks outnumber the missiles available, the Javelin supply might quickly run out.