The United States sends more of the powerful Javelin to Ukraine: how this weapon acts that could stop Putin’s tanks

U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) train on the Javelin close combat missile system during Expert Infantry Badge training at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. UU, on December 5, 2019. Washington approved an extra shipment of these weapons to Ukraine to repel the attack by Putin’s tanks (Reuters) (Bryan Woolston /)

state joined has approved an additional $350 million worth of weapons, armor and other equipment for the Ukrainian government to enable it to resist and fight the invading forces of Vladimir Putin. The announcement was made by US officials from the Pentagon this Saturday and represents strong aid promised by joe Biden to the ukrainian president Volodomir Zelensky.

Among the material that will reach the hands of the defending troops are the Javelina powerful anti-tank system that could penetrate one of the most powerful weapons in the Kremlin until they are unusable. “The Javelins will be on this next stage as they have been on so many stages in the past.”a senior defense official told Pentagon reporters on Saturday.

The missile, produced by Raytheoncan be carried by a soldier and used to disable tanks and other armored targets of the invading forces of the dictator of Moscow. They are part of an extra help package approved by Washington which includes weapons and armor to defend against “armored, aerial and other threats you are facing now”, the State Department announced on Saturday.

How do Javelins work?

Among the new generation equipment held by the Ukrainian Army Javelin and NLAW missiles stand out, capable of destroying Russian tanks and armored vehicles.

On January 17, C-17 cargo planes from the British Royal Air Force arrived in Kiev. On that day, the UK Defense Minister, ben wallacemaintained that the government of Boris Johnson decided “to supply Ukraine with anti-armor light defensive weapons systems”. Since then the West has been helping Kiev in its defenses.

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The United States, for its part, had begun sending Ukraine its own anti-tank missiles. Javelin in 2018. In December last year it approved an additional $200 million weapons package, including more such projectiles.

These missiles are provided with their respective launchers. In 2018, Washington sent 210 projectiles along with 37 launchers. A year later, another batch of 150 missiles and 10 launchers was added. On January 21, the US embassy in Kiev confirmed the arrival of a new shipment.

The Javelin weapon system is manufactured by American companies Raytheon and Lockheed Martin.

These devices feature a launch unit (CLU) and a double-headed projectile. The missile is placed in the CLU, which weighs just 6.4 kilograms, and the shooter searches for the target using the sight (night or day).

The missile, weighing 15.9 kilograms, has two charges. The first is designed to detonate all types of armor, and the second to pierce the target. This feature places it in a very select category.

Ukrainian service members unpack Javelin anti-tank missiles, delivered by plane as part of the US military support package to Ukraine (Reuters)
Ukrainian service members unpack Javelin anti-tank missiles, delivered by plane as part of the US military support package to Ukraine (Reuters) (VALENTYN OGIRENKO/)

Its propulsion system, based on solid fuel, generates little smoke and allows a smooth launch, even in small places and areas. The effective range of this missile, which also features effective cadmium/mercury infrared guidance, is up to four kilometers.

The Javelin belongs to the missiles known as “fire and forget”: the gunner can locate a tank, lock onto the target, fire, and then flee to safety, without having to follow its path. In addition, it can be ready to fire in less than 30 seconds, and can be reloaded in as little as 20.

It also has two modes of use: direct attack or from above. The former is primarily used from covered positions such as bunkers and buildings. In this way, the missile takes the shortest route to reach the target, being able to reach 50 meters in height.

The attack from above, on the other hand, more quickly destroys the main targets: the tanks. The most vulnerable areas of these military vehicles are at the top and bottom. What the projectile does, instead of taking the fastest path, is to rise to a certain height and then fall on the roof of the tank.

Thanks to its combat warhead, which has a penetration of more than 600 mm, This type of missile is developed to deal with the most modern tanks, such as the Russian ones.

Missiles, however, can also be fooled, as most modern barrages can release concealing smoke, whose objective is to confuse the thermal sensors of the projectile. In fact, last November Ukrainian forces spotted some Russian tanks with “slat” armor on top. Others appeared to have heat-emitting decoys to deflect warheads.

The other anti-tank missile that the Ukrainian troops have is the NLAW, developed by the Swedish company SAAB, in cooperation with the British Ministry of Defence.

Despite having similar capabilities to the FMG-148 Javelin, it is less powerful. Among its main virtues, it can destroy Russian tanks at short distances: its combat range is between 20 and 800 meters. It is even the only system capable of reaching a tank or any armored unit from a distance of 20 meters.

The minimum time from target detection to engagement is approximately 5 seconds.

Armed with a powerful high-explosive warhead (with 150mm penetration)flies at a height of almost a meter above the tank with the projectile head pointing downwards.


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