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US State Department Approves Sale of 600 Javelin FGM-148F Anti-Tank Missiles to UK


US State Department Approves Sale of 600 Javelin FGM-148F Anti-Tank Missiles to UK

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Royal Gurkha Rifles fires FGM-148 Javelin Man-portable Anti-tank Guided Missile
Royal Gurkha Rifles FGM-148 Javelin Man-portable Anti-tank Guided Missile

The U.S. State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of the United Kingdom of Javelin Missiles for an estimated cost of $125.13 million. The Government of the United Kingdom has requested to buy up to six hundred (600) Javelin FGM-148F missiles (includes twelve (12) fly-to-buy missiles). Also included is U.S. Government technical assistance and other related elements of logistics and program support. The prime contractors will be Raytheon/Lockheed Martin Javelin Joint Venture, Orlando, FL and Tucson, AZ. Implementation of this proposed sale will not require the assignment of U.S. Government or contractor representatives to the United Kingdom.

This proposed sale will support the foreign policy goals and national security objectives of the United States by improving the security of a NATO Ally that is a force for political stability and economic progress in Europe. The proposed sale will improve the United Kingdom’s capability to meet current and future threats. The United Kingdom will use the enhanced capability to build its long-term defense capacity to meet its national defense requirements. The United Kingdom will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces. The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region. There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale.

Soldiers from the Royal Dragoon Guards and the Lithuanian Army train together as part of the Joint Expeditionary Force
Soldiers from the Royal Dragoon Guards and the Lithuanian Army train to use FGM-148 Javelin Man-portable Anti-tank Guided Missile. (Photo by British Army)

The FGM-148 Javelin, or Advanced Anti-Tank Weapon System-Medium (AAWS-M), is an American-made portable man-portable anti-tank systems 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 system consists of three main components: the Command Launch Unit, the Launch Tube Assembly and the missile itself. 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.

Javelin is a fire-and-forget missile with lock-on before launch and automatic self-guidance. The system takes a top attack flight profile against armored vehicles, attacking the usually thinner top armor, but can also make a direct attack, for use against buildings, targets too close for top attack, targets under obstructions, and helicopters. It can reach a peak altitude of 150 m (490 ft) in top attack mode and 60 m (200 ft) in direct attack mode. Initial versions had a range of 2,000 m (6,600 ft), later increased to 2,500 m (8,200 ft). It is equipped with an imaging infrared seeker. The tandem warhead is fitted with two shaped charges: a precursor warhead to detonate any explosive reactive armor and a primary warhead to penetrate base armor. The missile is ejected from the launcher to a safe distance from the operator before the main rocket motors ignite – a “soft launch arrangement”. This makes it harder to identify the launcher, though backblast from the launch tube still poses a hazard to nearby personnel.

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