TechAmerican Javelins make their mark in Ukraine. How portable missile launchers disrupt Russian strategies

American Javelins make their mark in Ukraine. How portable missile launchers disrupt Russian strategies

Javelin - reference photo
Javelin - reference photo
Images source: © Wikimedia Commons, X

9:18 AM EST, January 16, 2024

Avdiivka, known as the "gate to Donetsk," has been a scene of intense fighting for several months. The area is of significant importance to the Russians primarily because it offers an opportunity to establish a valuable logistical corridor. Consequently, it's unsurprising to find the aggressor's forces amassing key machinery there, pieces which experts claim are gradually being destroyed.

News relating to the struggle for Avdiivka often highlights both conflict sides' deployment of formidable equipment. Amidst this daily carnage, weapons significantly smaller than tanks or artillery also play a big role - these include handheld anti-tank missile launchers. One such weapon (FGM-148 Javelin) is the centerpiece of a video that user @RALee85 recently posted on X.

Javelin's role in Ukraine

Yesterday's video from Twitter shows the use of small, portable Javelin launchers to shell Russian vehicles. Due to its size, this weapon serves as equipment operating on the last line of defense.

Soldiers equipped with Javelins camouflage themselves in trenches, directing their fire towards the adversary. The war has demonstrated the Ukrainians' proficiency at concealment, as videos depicting Javelin launches from trees bear evidence.

Generally speaking, the FGM-148 Javelin is an American system, its history tracing back to the nineties of the previous century. Production of the weapon began in 1996. Early versions of Javelins, designated as 148A/B/C/D Block 0, were purportedly sent to Ukraine, with reports suggesting that the defenders also have FGM-148E Block 1 versions, which were produced from 2006 onwards.

Early versions of the aforementioned systems have a range of approximately 1.6 miles, while modernized and enhanced Javelins can dispatch missiles up to 3 miles away. The weapon employs a solid-fuel rocket engine for propulsion, using thermography for guidance. The missile, equipped with a warhead weighing around 18.5 lbs (shaped charge), leaves the launcher at a speed of about 656 ft/s. A few seconds later, it hits the target, and the soldier can immediately resume hiding, as the Javelin operates on a "fire and forget" system, eliminating the need to do anything beyond firing.

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