The Javelin Joint Venture (JJV between Lockheed Martin and Raytheon) has completed the first F model of the JAVELIN anti-tank missile system. The JJV was contracted to produce a first batch of 511 examples in 2019 with acceptance tests now starting, and, after successful completion, delivery to troops is scheduled for the fall of 2020. The framework agreement specifies a total production volume of 2,100 units so, with the latest version and further performance enhancements, service life is specified until 2050.
JAVELIN (US designation FGM-148) was introduced to the US Armed Forces in 1996 as a medium anti-tank missile system which has since been repeatedly improved in terms of warhead performance and range, with the F version now in production the sixth upgrade of the system. A new multipurpose warhead can be successfully deployed against conventional and reactive armour in addition to lightly armoured /unarmoured targets while the range has been increased to 4,000 metres. In addition, the lighter Command Launch Unit has been given improved optics that make it easier to identify and track targets at this range.
How it works
For the fire-and-forget missile, the target is located using daylight or (cooled) thermal imaging optics before the system is switched to the imaging sensor of the seeker head and the target is marked. After firing, the missile heads towards the target with two types of attack possible: direct, with a flight altitude of up to 60 metres on the front, rear or side surfaces, and elevated, with a flight altitude of 160 metres and a steep approach to the top of the vehicle. With around 45,000 JAVELIN missiles ordered so far, the user list includes eight NATO states in addition to Australia, Taiwan and three states in the MENA region while JAVELIN has been used more than 5,000 times in Afghanistan, Iraq and other theatres of war.