Armor: October 9, 2003

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Looks like Department of Defense is determined to drive a stake into the heart of LOSAT and kill it off for good. LOSAT is a 177 pound, 162mm diameter missile that can destroy any tank in existence with a very high speed impact. The missile quickly accelerates to 5,000 feet per second and is guided straight to its target (up to 4,000 meters away), as seen by the gunner through a day or night-vision sight. LOSAT was simple, four could be mounted on a hummer, and it worked. Development began in 1988, but then came the end of the Cold War and hordes of armored vehicles the Soviet Union had long threatened to unleash on Western Europe. Interest in new anti-tank weapons diminished and the in 1992 Department of Defense put LOSAT on the back burner as a "research and development" project. In 1996, the Department of Defense tried to cancel LOSAT, but the army fought back and kept it alive, barely. But then came September 11, 2001 and in mid-2002 LOSAT was given an official designation (MGM-166A) and an order for 108 missiles, to be used by an army unit to see how they hold up under field conditions. But the Department of Defense is out to cut unneeded projects and LOSAT is again on the chopping block. In Iraq, Javelin gave troops in hummers an excellent anti-tank weapon. Javelin is now proven in combat and  it's a lot lighter (the missile itself weighs 20 pounds, plus 15 pounds for the launch tube it is sealed and shipped in, and fired from.) At $75,000 a missile, Javelin isn't much cheaper than LOSAT, and Javelin's shorter range (2,500 meters) is not seen as a problem. So the Department of Defense is out to kill LOSAT once more, or at least put it on the back burner until some potential foe gathers together a really, really large army of armored vehicles.


 


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