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In the near future, Russian anti-tank missile systems (ATGMs) should have new targets – Leopard 2, Abrams, Challenger 2 and AMX tanks. Today, the Russian army is armed with a rather serious arsenal of forces and means of anti-tank defense.

Among them are no less sonorous names – “Bassoons”, “Cornets”, “Whirlwinds” and even “Chrysanthemums”. It was clear what advantages modern domestic anti-tank systems have and how they will cope with Western-made tanks.

time tested

Anti-tank missiles now have various guidance systems – from wire control, like 50-60 years ago, to ultra-modern homing laser beams. Or according to the thermal spot of armored vehicles – in the infrared range of the homing head. Wired control is simple and reliable – it is extremely difficult to interfere. And even with the development of missile technologies, as well as aiming equipment, such systems continue to be quite relevant anti-tank weapons.

A real veteran of the Russian Armed Forces – ATGM 9K111 Fagot. In its first modification, this complex was adopted by the Soviet Army in 1970. For its time, it was revolutionary – the launch of a rocket from a transport and launch container (TPK), a portable folding launcher, on which you can quickly replace a used TPK with a loaded missile.

Before Fagot, the operator of the complex independently controlled the flight of the ammunition. In it, the guidance has become semi-automatic – it is necessary to keep the enemy tank in sight, and the commands for the rocket are formed by the automation of the complex.

The use of wires for transmitting commands made the system highly reliable and not subject to interference. Of course, if the target tank set up light interference or created a smoke screen, then the guidance could fail, but in real life, the tank usually doesn’t have time to counter anti-tank systems – a maximum of ten seconds passes from launching a missile to hitting a target.

The range of the Fagot, depending on the type of missile, is 2000 m (9M111) or up to 4000 m (9M113). The armor penetration of the tandem HEAT warhead of the most advanced 9M113M missile reaches up to 800 mm of armor behind ERA.

The tandem warhead of anti-tank ammunition is equipped, as it were, with two consecutive warheads – the first initiates the dynamic protection of the tank, and the second already breaks through the armor left without it. This solution allows you to effectively hit almost any modern tank.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz delivers a speech in front of a Leopard 2 - Germany Political News
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz delivers a speech in front of a Leopard 2 – Germany Political News

By the way, the maximum armor of the Leopards, if measured by the frontal part, is about 500 mm for the 2A5 tank model and up to 1200 mm for the most advanced 2A7 model. If we talk about the frontal projection of the tower, then in front of our ATGMs there will be from 1200 mm for the Leopard-2A5 tank to 1500 mm for the Leopard-2A7.

The figures are given in relation to the resistance against shaped charges of anti-tank weapons. And, of course, this is the ideal theoretical value – any armored beast can be hit.

Air superiority

One of the most advanced, high-tech and powerful Russian ATGMs is the 9K121M Vikhr complex with 9M127-1 Vikhr-1 missiles, which has been produced by our industry since 2013. The creation of the Vortex began in the 1980s at the Instrument Design Bureau under the leadership of A.G. Shipunov.

Russian Anti-Tank Missile Systems (ATGMs)
Russian Anti-Tank Missile Systems (ATGMs)

The complex was created just to deal with the latest Western tanks such as “Abrams” and “Leopard”, the destruction of which required the creation of a new generation of anti-tank weapons.

“Whirlwind” is an aviation anti-tank system, which is used by attack aircraft and helicopters. The main carrier of the Whirlwinds is the Ka-52 reconnaissance and attack helicopter. Each vehicle carries 12 transport and launch containers with ATGMs.

Supersonic missile with laser guidance and a powerful tandem HEAT warhead weighing 12 kg. Armor penetration – at least 1200 mm of armor, that is, for modern tanks this is a guaranteed defeat if even the most protected parts of the hull hit.

In addition to tanks and armored vehicles, Whirlwinds can also hit air targets moving at speeds up to 800 km/h. So, during the tests, the Tu-16 target aircraft was hit. The Vikhrey range of 10 km exceeds the range of many anti-aircraft missile systems that provide air defense for tank formations. This is twice the range of the Stinger MANPADS. And, by the way, we can note the repeated successful use of Ka-52 helicopters with ATGM “Whirlwind” in the course of a special military operation.

Any armor

To replace the reliable and very common Fagota, the Tula Instrument Design Bureau created the 9K135 Kornet anti-tank missile system with laser-guided missile guidance in the 1990s. In its latest modifications, the “fire and forget” principle is implemented: it is enough for the ATGM operator to point the sight at the target and press “capture”. After that, the complex performs all operations automatically, and with a high probability the missile hits the target.

The ammunition starts from the transport and launch container and flies to the target at transonic speed. The warhead is tandem cumulative, but there are features – in the Kornet rocket, the front and main charges of the tandem are separated by a solid-fuel engine with side nozzles. In the tail compartment there is a guidance system with laser radiation sensors of the launcher.

The Kornet complex, due to the perfect aiming system, can conduct aimed fire at fast moving objects – at any ground vehicles, at floating and at most flying vehicles. The safety of the calculation of the complex is provided by a remote control panel. “Kornet” is universal and can be used from different launch platforms – from a portable tripod in infantry formations, from infantry fighting vehicles, from a boat or from a special ATGM combat vehicle. Range – up to 5500m.

Penetration “Kornet” leaves no chance for tanks: 1300 mm of armor with dynamic protection – this is the maximum thickness of the latest modifications of modern vehicles.

But the most powerful modern ATGM of the Russian army has become the 9K123 Khrizantema universal missile system with powerful supersonic missiles and a range of up to 6km. The combat vehicle of the 9P157 complex was created on the basis of the BMP-3. In fact, this is a robotic ATGM combat platform.

The launcher with two missiles in containers after firing throws off empty containers and, without the participation of the crew, reloads from the ammo rack in the vehicle body. Guidance of missiles is combined automatic – by a laser beam and by a radio beam in the noise-protected millimeter wave range.

Car ammunition – 15 missiles. If we take into account that the probability of hitting a tank with such missiles is close to one, then with a good combination of circumstances, one such vehicle can destroy up to a company of tanks.

Penetration – 1250 mm of armor behind dynamic protection. And in the ammunition load there are not only missiles with cumulative warheads – the complex can also use missiles with thermobaric warheads, which can destroy small buildings or smoke infantry out of fortifications.