Procurement: Rich Arabs Buy Deadly Javelin

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July 31, 2008: The UAE (United Arab Emerates) have ordered $135 million worth of Javelin anti-tank missiles. The order includes 1,000 missiles and 100 fire control units (CLU, for Command Launch Unit).

This weapon was first used during 2003 invasion of Iraq. It is a 21 pound "fire and forget" missile with a 2,500 meters range and the ability to knock out most armored vehicles (except for the most modern ones, and then only when hitting their frontal armor.)

Several hundred Javelins were fired in 2003, and over a thousand to date. One advantage of the Javelin is its weight. The sight and firing unit (CLU) weighs 15 pounds, while the missile, which comes in a sealed, 13.5 pound firing tube, weighs 21.5 pounds. What the infantry really like is the simplicity (you get the target in the cross hairs, pull the trigger, and that's that) and reliability of the system.

The only down side is that each missile costs $75,000. Simplicity and reliability come at a price. But throw a CLU and a few missile tubes (each is 42 inches long) into the back of a hummer, and you're ready to take out armored vehicles, a bunker or a building the bad guys won't come out of.

The CLU also makes an excellent night vision device, and troops often use it that way with great success.