The NLAW (Next generation Light Anti-tank Weapon) also known as the Main Battle Tank and Light Anti-tank Weapon (MBT LAW), is a joint British and Swedish short-range fire-and-forget anti-tank missile system. Designed for use by infantry, the MBT LAW is shoulder fired and disposable, firing once before being disposed of. The NLAW was developed by Saab Bofors Dynamics and Thales Air Defence in consolidation with the Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom) in 2002. The development is a joint venture between the UK and Sweden using technology derived from the BILL 2 (warhead and guidance), and AT4 CS (confined space capability) systems.
The NLAW is a soft-launch system, allowing it to be used by infantry from within an enclosed space. The portable, short range, fire-and-forget system entered service in 2009 as the NLAW (Next Generation Light Anti-tank Weapon), to replace the British Army’s existing LAW 80 system that had reached its obsolescence, as well as the ILAW (AT4 CS) (Interim Lightweight Anti-tank Weapon), which was in deployment as a substitute for the period in which the MBT-LAW had yet to be deployed. Deliveries began in December 2009. It is currently in use with the military forces of Finland, Indonesia, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
The NLAW (Next generation Light Anti-tank Weapon) is the latest shoulder-launched, Overfly Top Attack, anti-tank missile system that makes it the true tank killer for light forces that operate dismounted in all environments including built up areas. In this system, the missile is first launched out of the launcher using a low powered ignition. After the missile travels several meters into flight, its main rocket ignition occurs, which propels the missile from there on, to the target. Guidance is obtained using predicted line of sight (PLOS); for a moving target, the gunner maintains tracking for three seconds, training the missile’s guidance electronics to compute the target’s angular speed.
Selectable Overfly Top Attack (OTA) against armoured targets and Direct Attack (DA) against non armoured targets such as other vehicles and vessels or enemy troops inside buildings. After launch the missile flies autonomously to the target adjusting the necessary corrections according to the data acquired by the tracking. It is unnecessary for the gunner to consider the range to the target. After launch the missile’s position in its trajectory always coincides with the target irrespective of range. PLOS (Predicted Line Of Sight) guidance and OTA delivers easy handling, accuracy and high kill probability.