The FGM-148 Javelin surface-attack guided missile and launcher is a fire-and-forget, man-portable medium close combat missile system consisting of a command launch unit (CLU) and a round.
It is operated by an individual soldier or in crews of two or three. It is suitable for use during the day, the night, and even in limited visibility.
The Javelin’s primary role is to destroy enemy armored vehicles, up to 2 kilometers away.
When there is no armored vehicle threat, the Javelin can be employed in a secondary role of providing fire support against point targets such as bunkers and crew-served weapons positions.
In mechanized Infantry units, when Bradley fighting vehicles (BFVs) are part of a combined-arms team with tanks, the Javelin becomes a secondary weapon system.
The Command Launch Unit could be used as an aided vision device for reconnaissance, security operations, and surveillance.
The Javeling is employed based on METT-TC (
It is also used to provide mutual supporting fire for allied units.
In order to provide mutual support most successfully, the gunners are supposed to cover overlapping areas of fire.
Finally, in order to provide a better idea of how mutual support is provided, and the overlapping areas work, a positioning of the Javelin in depth on a battlefield.
It has the following capabilities:
- A maximum range of 2 km;
- The Javelin has a fire and forget capability. The missile I2R system gives the missile the ability to guide itself to the target when launched by the gunner;
- It has two missile flight paths: Top attack flight path is designed to impact on top of the target; Direct attack flight path is designed to impact on the side (front, rear, flank) of the target;
- The gunner is capable of firing up to 3 missiles per 2 minutes;
- It is capable of piercing any known type of armor;
- The Night Vision Sight (NVS) is quite effective, with very little degradation of the image;
- Any countermeasures used by the enemy are voided by the use of the NVS filter.
- It is man-portable;
- The fire-and-forget capability allows the gunner to shoot, and then move to safety;
- The soft launch capability allows it to be launched from buildings and bunkers;
- It is maneuverable over short distances for the gunners;
- Its passive infrared targeting system, used to acquire targets cannot be detected;
- The launch motor provides a very slight signature;
It, however, has the following limitations:
- The Command Launch Unit cannot discriminate targets past 2 km;
- The NVS cooldown time is from 2.5 to 3.5 minutes.
- The seeker’s cooldown time is about 10 seconds;
- The Battery Control Unit is 1-time-use and it has 4 minutes of life;
- The day FOV relies on daylight to provide the gunner a suitable target image;
- The NVS uses the IR naturally emitted from objects. IR crossover is the time at dawn and dusk that the terrain and the target are close enough in temperature to cause the target to blend in with its surroundings;
- Heavy fog reduces the capability of the gunner to detect and engage targets;
- The flight path of the missile is restricted in wooded, mountainous, and urban terrain;
- The gunner must have line of sight for the seeker to lock onto a target;
- The weight of the Javelin makes maneuvering slow over long distances;
- The Javelin round is bulky and restricts movement in heavily wooded or vegetative terrain;
- The gunner must partially expose himself to engage the enemy;
- The Command Launch Unit requires a clear line-of-sight to acquire targets in top attack and direct attack modes.
Below are the physical characteristics of the Command Launch Unit:
The physical characteristics of the round are the following:
The Javelin is primarily used by the the U.S. Army and Marine Corps, but it has also been sold to 18 partner nations, including Ukraine, France, Qatar, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.
Given that the Javelin has been used primarily to hit soft targets and structures, a new version of the Javelin warhead with a deadlier blast fragmentation has been introduced, designated the FGM-148F. This new warhead is supposedly just as effective against tanks, and no costlier than its predecessors.
The Javelin missiles were very spoke of around the end of 2019, since they were a big part of US President Donald Trump’s impeachment hearings. In May 2018 Ukraine purchased 210 Javelin missiles and 37 launchers from the United States for an estimated $47 million. The missiles were the first lethal military assistance provided to Ukraine by the United States in its fight against the people of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics in eastern Ukraine, since the fighting began in 2014.
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