Anti-tank guided missile

An anti-tank guided missile (ATGM), anti-tank missile, anti-tank guided weapon (ATGW) or anti-armor guided weapon is a guided missile primarily designed to hit and destroy heavily armored military vehicles. ATGMs range in size from shoulder-launched weapons, which can be transported by a single soldier, to larger tripod-mounted weapons, which require a squad or team to transport and fire, to vehicle and aircraft mounted missile systems.

FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank missile of the United States Army
The 9M133 Kornet tripod-mounted ATGM of the Russian Ground Forces

Earlier man-portable anti-tank weapons like anti-tank rifles and magnetic anti-tank mines, generally had very short range, sometimes on the order of metres or tens of metres. Rocket-propelled high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) systems appeared in World War II and extended range to the order of hundreds of metres, but accuracy was low and hitting targets at these ranges was largely a matter of luck. It was the combination of rocket propulsion and remote wire guidance that made the ATGM much more effective than these earlier weapons, and gave light infantry real capability on the battlefield against post-war tank designs. The introduction of semi-automatic guidance in the 1960s further improved the performance of ATGMs.

As of 2016, ATGMs were used by over 130 countries and many non-state actors around the world.[1] Post-Cold-War main battle tanks (MBTs) using composite and reactive armors have proven to be resistant to smaller ATGMs.[2]


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