Ground Warfare

US State Department Approves Sale of Javelin Missiles and Related Equipment to Kosovo

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US State Department Approves Sale of Javelin Missiles and Related Equipment to Kosovo

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FGM-148 Javelin man-portable anti-tank system
FGM-148 Javelin man-portable anti-tank system

The US State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Republic of Kosovo of Javelin Missiles and related equipment for an estimated cost of $75 million. The Republic of Kosovo has requested to buy 246 Javelin FGM-148F missiles; and 24 Javelin Lightweight Command Launch Units (LWCLU). Also included are Javelin LWCLU Basic Skills Trainers; Javelin Outdoor Trainers; Missile Simulation Rounds; Outdoor Training Instructor Stations (OTIS); Battery Coolant Units (BCUs); System Integration and Check out (SICO); Life Cycle Support (LCS); Javelin Restricted Interactive Electronic Technical Manual (IETM); Javelin Operator Manual and Technical Assistance (TAGM); tools; Javelin gunner training; Ammunition Technical Officer (ATO) training; Javelin maintenance training; and other elements of logistics and program support.

The FGM-148 Javelin, or Advanced Anti-Tank Weapon System-Medium (AAWS-M), is an American-made man-portable anti-tank system in service since 1996, and continuously upgraded. It replaced the M47 Dragon anti-tank missile in US service. Its fire-and-forget design features automatic infrared guidance, allowing 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-down attack, hitting them from above, where their armor is thinnest, and is also useful against fortifications in a direct attack flight.

Javelin Lightweight Command Launch Units (LWCLUs)
The US Army developed a new Lightweight Command Launch Units (LWCLUs) as an improvement over the CLU Block I version. The LWCLU 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. (Photo by British Army)

Javelin is a fire-and-forget missile with lock-on before launch and automatic self-guidance. The system employs 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 new Lightweight CLU (LWCLU) is 70% smaller, 40% lighter and has a 50% battery life increase. Features of the lightweight CLU are: a long-wave infrared (IR) thermographic camera; a high-definition display with improved resolution; integrated handgrips; a five megapixel color camera; a laser point that can be seen visibly or through IR; a far target locator using GPS, a laser rangefinder, a heading sensor, and modernized electronics. The LWCLU has also demonstrated the ability to fire a FIM-92 Stinger anti-aircraft missile, using its superior optics to identify and destroy small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The Javelin Joint Venture received its first low-rate production contract for the LWCLU in June 2022.

British Army Javelin Advanced Anti-Tank Weapon System-Medium (AAWS-M).
The Javelin Missiles system consists of three main components: the Command Launch Unit, the Launch Tube Assembly and the missile itself. (Photo by British Army)

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