Mr Happy

This is an article I read here: http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/pilum-high-the-javelin-anti-armor-missile-03440/#program and I thought it interesting enough that you might enjoy the read too!

After a series of disastrous experiences in Vietnam trying to use 66mm M72 LAW rockets against old Soviet tanks, the US military developed a renewed seriousness about giving its soldiers shoulder-fired weapons that packed enough punch to face down enemy armor. A number of options like the Mk 153 SMAW and the AT4/M136 spun out of that effort in the 1980s, but it wasn’t until electronics had miniaturized for several more cycles that it became possible to solve the next big problem: the need for soldiers to remain exposed to enemy fire while guiding anti-tank missiles to their targets.

Javelin solves both of those problems at once, offering a heavy fire-and-forget missile that will reliably destroy any enemy armored vehicle, and many fortifications as well. While armored threats are less pressing these days, the need to destroy fortified outposts and rooms in buildings remains. Indeed, one of the lessons of the 2006 war in Lebanon was the use of guided missiles as a form of precision artillery fire by front-line combatants on both sides.

Javelin is not an ideal candidate for the latter role due to its high cost-per-unit; nevertheless, its performance in Iraq has revealed a clear niche on both low and high intensity battlefields, and led to rising popularity with international and American clients. This DID FOCUS Article covers the Javelin anti-armor missile system, and associated contracts and key events. The latest is a $100+ million pair of foreign contracts…

Javelin’s development began in 1989 with a contract to develop a replacement for the M47 Dragon wire-guided anti-tank missile – a weapon that left its operator’s head and torso exposed to fire during the missile’s flight, and required a certain level of fine motor control. This was extremely dangerous for the operator, and of questionable effectiveness in genuine combat situations. The body’s survival-level fight or flight chemistry causes a lot of changes, one of which is a severe reduction in fine motor control under intense stress situations. Like, for instance, firing a missile whose flash and plume singles you out on the battlefield, then keeping your torso exposed for up to 10 loooong seconds while enemy machine gunners et. al. zero in and try to cut you in two.

Unlike its predecessor, Javelin would be a fire and forget weapon. Its 2.5 km/ 1.5mile range is shorter than some other anti-tank systems, but remains more than double the M47 Dragon’s. Its imaging infared (IIR) guidance system can take 30 seconds or more to cool down enough to allow lock-on once it’s started up, but then it locks on to a heat emission ‘picture’ to hit vehicles, designated spots on the ground, or even helicopters. The operator can choose between top attack (where tank armor is weakest) and direct fire, and the missile’s 8.4 kg/ 18.5 pound dual warhead design will defeat even reactive explosive armor protection. Its last key feature is called “soft launch capability,” which is milspeak for “you can launch the missile from inside a building without barbecuing yourself and your squad.”

Javelin technically consists of 2 parts. The 26 pound, $75,000-80,000 missile comes in ready to fire tubes. these missiles are fired after they’re attached to the 14 pound, $125,000 Command Launch Unit (CLU), which contains the weapons optics, electronics, and sensors. The CLU also contains a quiet innovation: embedded training that allows operators to train and qualify through multiple scenarios using the same equipment they’ll use in the field, but without firing a live missile. While some live-fire is required for truly effective training, the expense of weapons like TOW and Javelin has traditionally limited training and practice to unacceptably low levels – one live firing per year for “trained” crews is not uncommon. Using an embedded virtual training option helps to alleviate this problem.

The entire Javelin system weighs about 49 pounds, plus about 5 pounds each for spare BA5590 lithium batteries. Each battery lasts up to 4 hours, and 5-10 batteries is a normal range for mission loads.

The Javelin missile received very good reviews from the front lines during Operation Iraqi Freedom for its fire-and-forget accuracy and large explosions. Its role in the Battle of Debecka Pass in northern Iraq received particular attention. As Army Magazine notes:

“Debecka Pass basically had two Special Forces ‘A’ Teams facing a battalion-sized enemy force that had 12 tanks, 24 armored personnel carriers, three howitzers, a multiple rocket launcher, an anti-aircraft gun, 150 soldiers and probably another 18 to 20 light vehicles and trucks,” [Raytheon business development manager Roy] Adams said.

“The American force ended up destroying two tanks, eight personnel carriers and four cargo trucks. More important, they were able to hold off that enemy force until the 173rd Airborne Brigade could relieve them and assume ownership of that pass.”

He added, “One of the sergeants who was there said, ‘Without the Javelin weapon systems, 30 Americans never would have left that pass alive.’ “

See also Michael Yon’s May 7/07 article “Rattlesnake,” covering British forces near Basra, Iraq, as they plan and execute a counter-ambush trap using Javelin missiles in a prominent role. While any guided anti-armor missile down to a 1960s-era wire-guided AT-3 Sagger could have been substituted with similar results, note the C4SI issues faced by British forces on the battlefield – issues any substitute weapon would also have to overcome.

Interestingly, the Javelin CLUs have also received rave reviews from the front lines. Their advanced optics and thermal imaging led to widespread use as an effective day & night surveillance tool.

The JAVELIN Joint Venture was formed by 2 firms. Texas Instruments (now Raytheon Missile Systems) of Dallas, TX is responsible for the Command Launch Unit (CLU), missile guidance electronic unit, system software, and system engineering management. Lockheed Martin Electronics and Missiles (now Missiles and Fire Control), of Orlando, FL is responsible for the missile seeker, missile engineering and assembly. Other key subcontractors include ATK (missile tube), BAE systems (Brtish version’s missile seeker), and DRS (thermal sensors).

Production began in 1994, and the missile equipped its first unit in 1996. initial reliability issues resulted in some delays and additional testing, and full rate production was authorized in May 1997.

The Javelin Block 1 missile upgrade went into production in 2006, with successful qualification tests in 2007. It includes an improved rocket motor that offers more speed ad less flight time, an enhanced warhead, and improvements to the command launch unit and software.

Javelin received initial attention and interest from a few countries in its early years – but its successful use in Iraq from mid-2003 onward has given its marketing efforts a strong boost. Countries that have bought and fielded Javelin systems now include: Australia (2002), the Czech Republic (2004), Ireland (2002), Jordan (2001), Lithuania (2001), New Zealand (2003), Norway (2005), Oman (2006), Taiwan (2002), the UK (2003), and the USA (original). The UAE ordered Javelin in July 2008, almost 4 years after their formal 2004 DSCA request; other DSCA requests that have yet to result in contracts or fielding include Canada (2003 request) and Bahrain (2006 request).

Unless otherwise noted, all contracts are issued to the JAVELIN joint venture between Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, whose HQ is located in Orlando, FL. Given the proximity of Disney World’s “It’s a Small World After All” ride, Javelin employees have shown commendable restraint in their test venues.

Unless otherwise noted, all contracts are from the The U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command at Redstone Arsenal, AL.

July 2/08: A $101.4 million firm-fixed price contract for an award of foreign military sales (FMS) for missile rounds, command launch units, the enhanced producibility version of the basic skills trainer, battery coolant units, and 1 C-size authorized stockage list spare. Work will be performed in Tucson, AZ, and Orlando, FL, and is expected to be complete by May 15/11. One bid was solicited on July 31/07 (W31P4Q-04-C-0136).

At the time, DID noted that Bahrain and Oman were the only new FMS request for the Javelin missile since 2006, adding that the announced value of their combined contracts would equal about $100 million. A July 29/08 release from Raytheon, however, said that the Javelin Joint Venture had “received a $115 million U.S. government contract to produce the Javelin anti-tank missile and command launch unit for the United Arab Emirates and Oman.”

Raytheon confirmed to DID that this is the UAE’s 1st contract for Javelin missiles, and Oman’s 2nd. The UAE’s Nov 17/04 DSCA request for Javelins (see entry) involved 1,000 missiles, 100 CLUs, etc. for an estimated value of $135 million. Oman’s July 28/06 request involved 250 missiles, 30 CLUs, etc., for an estimated value of $48 million (see entry); this is the second installment of that request.

Mr Happy

I noticed that! Probably a special price for US army and ermm, oil providing friends, a seperate price for Brits... Or at least when we ordered it the GBP-USD FX rate was 1:1.4 vs 1:2.02 as it is now..
So dropping the clu out of a third storey window would be a very bad thing I take it .Not that I ever nearly did that :oops: .
I thought the 66 worked well in nam .I read when it first turned up the idea that it could kill tanks was disbelived .So some special forces instructor went out took one out with it .Then everyone wanted a go .
Having seen modern MBT do there thing anyone wanting to have a go at them with some form of law anywhere other than fibua is going to die ,but,
law type weapons are still useful for all sort of tasks .Javelin is a bit exspensive for what we are using it for,but,there are no other precison
attack weapons the infantry have .

Mr Happy

woody said:
So dropping the clu out of a third storey window would be a very bad thing I take it .Not that I ever nearly did that :oops: .
I thought the 66 worked well in nam .I read when it first turned up the idea that it could kill tanks was disbelived .So some special forces instructor went out took one out with it .Then everyone wanted a go .
I don't know any stories re 66 + Nam but... I suspec the US problem with it was more accuracy than bang.
I seem to recall Texas Instruments had to repay the US DoD a chunk of cash as Texas had sourced some cheaper electronices without letting DoD know. DoD got quite miffed and sued on the grounds that Texas had breeched contract and won.....

Wonder if MoD ever thought of this....
My pal missed the wall with a 66 in the UOTC and the graze fuse went off at a shallow angle strike - f'kin scarey. Big streak of flame/plasma along the ground, and they weighed fanny adams (4.8lb).

I just refuse to believe that it's impossible to rig a cheap system that would allow you to designate a target with a laser and then have the electronics tell the mortar tube when it's in the right position.

Think about it - little plastic "rifle" with a laser pointer/range finder and GPS. Reason tells you that for any target in range of a mortar tube there must be a position for the tube that will result in the bomb striking. Point the "rifle" and paint the target. The GPS knows where the tube is, it now knows where the target is, cheap electronics tells the tube what position it needs, Number Two moves the loaded tube until it indicates it's bang on, and one second later it fires.

Cost of 10lb of HE on target - couple of hundred quid. To mirror the range of the Javelin you would only need a thin aluminium low pressure, low velocity tube. The rest of the stuff wouldn't be dear either.

But why have a cheap and simple solution when a complicated and expensive one will do :D

Mr B. Wallis (I wish)
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