TechRomania bolsters defense gets green light to buy $80m American Javelin missile system

Romania bolsters defense gets green light to buy $80m American Javelin missile system

The moment of launching the FGM-148 Javelin missile
The moment of launching the FGM-148 Javelin missile
Images source: © Marines.mil

2:21 PM EST, December 13, 2023

The US State Department has given the green light for a tentative sale to the Romanians. The deal includes 263 FGM-148F missiles, 26 launchers, logistic agreements for spare parts deliveries, and a training package totaling roughly 80 million dollars.

The FGM-148 Javelin system will greatly enhance Romania's defense capabilities. Even older versions of this system have proven effective against the latest Russian tanks in Ukraine. The introduction of these new systems will permit Romania to phase out antiquated Soviet-era systems such as the 9K111 Fagot.

FGM-148F Javelin: the modern reincarnation of Russian tankers' nightmares

The FGM-148F Javelin systems, first produced in the 1990s, are "fire and forget" weapons. This technology allows the user to quickly take cover post-launch, greatly enhancing their safety. This contrasts with older systems like the TOW-2, where the shooter must guide the missile until it reaches the target. This journey, over a distance of approximately 2.48 miles, can take around 20 seconds and leaves room for the target to react and potentially attack the launcher's position.

The Javelin achieves this functionality using a cooled head that works in the infrared, capturing the thermal image of the target (otherwise known as IIR from Imaging Infrared). Simply, the guided head seeks a match between the target and what the launcher "perceives". However, it's worth mentioning that the Javelin sensor isn't infallible, and countermeasures can be employed to dampen its efficacy. But with the latest version, F, created from 2020 onwards, this concern is significantly reduced compared to older variants seen in Ukraine from the 1990s to the early 2000s.

Another significant advantage of the Javelin is its attack profile. The missile launches in a dive, striking the top armor of a tank, the thinnest part, making it vulnerable to the potent tandem warhead capable of piercing nearly 29.92 inches of armored steel, even if concealed behind reactive armor or steel cages.

Consequently, an extremely effective, albeit high-priced system (with a missile costing upwards of 100 thousand dollars) capable of obliterating any Russian tank at a range of 2.95 miles has been developed.

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