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FGM-148 Javelin Missile Launcher

The FGM-148 is a modern anti-armor missile system in use with US regular and special operations forces.

The Javelin consists of a disposable launcher tube assembly which protects the missile when carried and attaches to the command launch unit (CLU). The CLU includes an optical viewer and infrared targeting system that is used to find targets. Once found, the CLU sends the target data to the missile's own thermal seeker head, via electronics in the launcher tube. This locks the target and the operator can now elect to fire the missile.

The Javelin is a fire-and-forget system which means that once locked on target and launched, the operator does not need to monitor or control its flight. In addition to improved accuracy, fire-and-forget has a significant advantage over wire-guided weapons such as the M47 Dragon the Javelin replaces, as the operator can seek cover after firing the missile.

The Javelin missile houses a tandem HEAT (high explosive anti-tank) warhead which is designed to defeat modern anti-missile systems, such as reactive armor, found on tanks. A smaller shaped warhead first punches through any shrapnel from reactive armor, creating a hole for the second shaped warhead to attack the target itself.

US Special Operations Forces such as Special Forces, Rangers and Delta Force carry the Javelin aboard their GMVs. The Javelin allows a small group of soldiers to take on armored threats at long distance that otherwise they would have to withdraw from. The Javelin was used to devastating effect against Iraqi armor by coalition SOF units during the opening stages of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

FGM-148 Javelin Specifications

weight: 26lbs (missile)
14lbs (CLU)
length: 1.2 meters (launcher tube)
1,1 meters (missile)
rate of fire : 1-shot, discarded after firing
CLU can be reused
effective range : 75m to 2500m

FGM-148 Javelin - Images and Further Info

US Marines - Javelin
US Marines engage a Taliban position near the town of Marjah, Afghanistan, Feb. 10, 2010. Despite being designed primarily as an anti-armor weapon, coalition forces in Afghanistan have regularly used the missile against fixed positions such as occupied buildings as well as taking out individual snipers.
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Andrew J. Carlson/Released


Javelin misisle being fired
US Army soldiers fire a Javelin missile during training - the Javelin is ejected from the launcher with an initial short burst of rocket thrust. Once clear of the launch crew, a second more powerful solid-fuel motor ignites and propels the missile to full speed. This reduces black blast to a level where the Javelin can be safely fired from within a building.
DoD photo by Sgt. 1st Class Rodney Jackson, U.S. Army/Released


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