Antitank Guided Missiles

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Antitank Guided Missiles


weapons designed to fight tanks and other armored targets.

Antitank guided missiles appeared in the armed forces of many countries during the 1950’s and 1960’s; they are part of the armament of combined arms units of various sizes and of some tanks and helicopters. The chief properties of antitank guided missiles are high accuracy in hitting maneuvering and immobile targets (the probability of hitting a tank is 70‣90 percent) and an armor-piercing capability of 400–500 mm at distances of 3,000-4,000 m. The missiles may have a guidance system that is manual, semiautomatic, or a combination of both. They may also have a homing system of guidance. The missiles are classified by weight as light (5-15 kg), medium-sized (15-40 kg), and heavy (more than 40 kg). They may be carried by troops or in trucks and may be self-propelled or used with airplanes and helicopters.

The body of the missile is usually cylindrical and made of strong light metals or polymer materials; the power plant and on-board control equipment are placed inside it. The missile usually has an armor-piercing shaped-charge warhead. The power plant ordinarily consists of a launch rocket and a sustainer engine using a solid propellant. If there is just one engine, it is used for both the launch and for sustained flight. The onboard instruments are designed to control the missile in flight. Antitank guided missiles are launched directly from the ground from transport boxes or containers, from portable-type launchers or launchers mounted on vehicles, or from armored personnel carriers, tanks, helicopters, or airplanes. There is a remote control panel with a cable up to 100 m long. The launching

Table 1. Performance characteristics of antitank guns introduced in the Great Patriotic War (1941-45)
 Weight of projectile (kg)Initial velocity (m/sec)Pointblank range (m)Armor-piercing capability (mm)Weight in firing position (kg)
45-mm cannon (1942)...............1.4387095070625
57-mm cannon (1943)...............3.149901,1201001,250
76-mm cannon (1942)...............6.23662820701,150
100-mm cannon (1944)..............15.888951,0801603,650
107-mm cannon (1940)..............18.807409501304,000

equipment includes the launcher and instruments for preparing, launching, and controlling the missile. After the missile is launched, commands are transmitted from ground control equipment to the instruments on board by wires or by radio. The communications wire is highly protected against interference and is very simple in design. (A wire 0.1-0.3 mm in thickness is wound on a coil mounted on the missile and unreels from it in flight.)

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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