The U.S. State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of the United Kingdom of Javelin Lightweight Command Launch Units (LWCLUs) for an estimated cost of $300 million. The Government of the United Kingdom has requested to buy five hundred thirteen (513) Javelin Lightweight Command Launch Units (LWCLUs). Also included are Javelin LWCLU Basic Skills Trainers (BSTs); Javelin Outdoor Trainers (JOTs); Javelin Vehicle Launcher Electronics (JVL-Es); Javelin LWCLU Train the Trainer Package; Lifecycle Support; System Integration and Check out (SICO); Javelin Operator Manual; Technical Assistance (TAGM); and other related elements of logistical and program support.
The UK Ministry of Defence purchased 850 Javelin units and 9,000 missiles for the Light Forces Anti-Tank Guided Weapon System (LFATGWS) requirement. Javelin entered UK service in 2005, replacing the MILAN and Swingfire systems. Javelin, the medium range anti-tank guided weapon replacement for Milan, is an enhanced version of the American weapon proven on operations in Iraq and Afghanistan by US forces. Javelin has been selected to equip British Army Armoured Infantry (AI) and Formation Reconnaissance (FR) forces, light infantry units, 3 Commando Brigade and Mechanised Infantry (MI). In British Army service, although designed primarily to destroy tanks and light armoured vehicles, Javelin will also provide a potent capability against fixed defences, such as bunkers and buildings.
The FGM-148 Javelin, or Advanced Anti-Tank Weapon System-Medium (AAWS-M), is an American-made portable anti-tank missile system in service since 1996, and continuously upgraded. It replaced the M47 Dragon anti-tank missile in US service. Its fire-and-forget design uses automatic infrared guidance that allows the user to seek cover immediately after launch, in contrast to wire-guided systems, like the system used by the Dragon, which require a user to guide the weapon throughout the engagement. The Javelin’s high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) warhead can defeat modern tanks by top attack, hitting them from above, where their armor is thinnest, and is also useful against fortifications in a direct attack flight.
The gunner carries a reusable Command Launch Unit, more commonly referred to as a CLU (pronounced “clue”), which is the targeting component of the two-part system. The CLU has three views which are used to find, target, and fire the missile and may also be used separately from the missile as a portable thermal sight. Infantry are no longer required to stay in constant contact with armored personnel carriers and tanks with thermal sights. This makes infantry personnel more flexible and able to perceive threats they would not otherwise be able to detect. In 2006, a contract was awarded to Toyon Research Corporation to begin development of an upgrade to the CLU enabling the transmission of target image and GPS location data to other units.