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YOU CAN RUN BUT YOU CAN'T HIDE

The might of the metal-mashing Javelin missile. Just imagine.

You’ve been dropped behind enemy lines to destroy a pair of tanks. You locate them. You flick the Javelin’s sight to thermal and confirm they are enemy tanks. You squeeze the trigger and start a chain of events you can’t stop. A £60,000 missile will rocket into the skies at over 300mph and, in a blistering 17 seconds, hit its target two kilometres away. There will be only one outcome – an extremely mangled tank.

"A £60,000 missile will rocket into the skies at over 300mph."

There is no explosion or terrific ball of flames as you squeeze the trigger. The Javelin missile makes a quiet ‘click’ as it leaves the weapon before its main motor kicks in and it streaks into the skies. You watch through the sight as the weapon guides itself onto the target and a small flash indicates the first tank has been taken out. Sixty seconds later, after a rapid reload, a second flash confirms your mission is accomplished.

Javelin

HOW THE JAVELIN CAUSES DOUBLE TROUBLE

TOP ATTACK

The Javelin climbs to 150 metres and strikes from above, where a tank’s armour is weakest, at an angle of about 45 degrees. The minimum range for top attack is 150 metres, the maximum 2.5 kilometres.

Top attack

DIRECT ATTACK

This is how a Javelin hits covered targets, buildings or helicopters. It fires on a lower, more direct path and aims at their sides. The minimum range for direct attack is 65 metres, the maximum is 2.5 kilometres.

Direct attack

That’s the awesome power of the Javelin. A weapon that can total tanks, but is light enough to be carried into battle.

To fire a Javelin missile you need a gunner and a controller/observer. The gunner locks onto the target and fires the missiles. The controller/observer is in charge, but helps load the missiles, identify targets and assesses any battlefield damage. Both are front-line infantry soldiers so they also carry a weapon, webbing and helmet.

Formidable flying machine

The Javelin can be made ready to fire in less than 30 seconds and only takes 20 seconds to reload. It can destroy tanks 2.5 kilometres away.

But perhaps the most impressive thing about the Javelin is its ‘fire-and-forget’ technology. A thermal seeker inside the weapon is constantly looking at the target as it is flying, guiding the warhead onto what the soldier has locked onto. So, when the missile is fired, the soldier can immediately move to a different location.

And the Javelin is an important weapon in the fight against the Taliban. In Afghanistan, its sensitive sights and pinpoint accuracy finds their fighters, and destroys fortified buildings and hidden bunkers.

Javelin firing

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