Armor: King Of The ATGMs

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May 11, 2015: Israel is becoming the leading supplier of ATGMs (Anti-Tank Guided Missile) and those used on helicopters and small ships as well. Since the 1990s the infantry have found that these missiles are very useful for defended bunkers and buildings. Aside from having lots of combat experience with these missiles, Israel is also quick to modify existing designs to meet user needs and suggestions. Thus in 2014 Israel announced it had developed a new helicopter launched version of its Lahat ATGM.  This lightweight version weighs 13 kg (28.6 pound), has a range of 13,000 meters (fired from a helicopter, 6,000 from a ground vehicle) and is, like the heavier Hellfire, fired from four-missile launchers. What makes Lahat so attractive to so many customers is its reliability (because it has been in service since the early 1990s) and extensive (and successful) use in combat. Then there is the price, which is under $50,000 each. This is cheaper than any competition and in addition Israel is flexible when it comes to pricing and getting export sales.

The 2014 Lahat began in 2009 when Israel began offering an air-launched version of the original Lahat, which was originally introduced in 1992 to be fired from 105mm and 120mm tank guns. The 2009 version was designed for use on the ground by infantry and in the air by helicopters. The 2009 version was a 12.5 kg (27 pound) missile with a range of 8,000 meters. There was also a version of Lahat designed for use by UAVs. This one has a range of 13,000 meters and consisted of a 75 kg (165 pound) launcher that included four ready-to-fire missiles. The four missile launcher for these systems can also be mounted on ships or vehicles and include a laser designator.

Lahat uses laser guidance and has the ability to fly over the tank and detonate a shaped charge warhead that will punch through the thinner top armor. The latest Lahat warheads are “smart” and will detonate in different ways depending on the target it is used against.

 


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