Antitank guided missile systems (ATGM) have been developed and produced globally for already half a century. Since then they became the most popular and wanted type of high precision weapons (HPW) thanks to their usability and relatively low cost. For example, there have been produced around seven hundred thousand TOW antitank missiles whose latest modifications are still being produced.
However from terminological point of view “ATGM system” does no more reflect all the requirements this type of weapon system has to meet. Originally designed to engage tanks, today ATGM systems are efficiently used to engage a wide range of other small dimension targets like lightly armoured and soft-skinned vehicles, various fortifications, manpower and elements of enemy’s infrastructure.
Analysis of the recent conflicts reveals a vital need for further expansion of these weapon systems applications. Higher fighting dynamics, mobility and independence of tactical formations as well as increased rate of operations in urban environment made high mobility and versatility ATGM systems become one of the main means of army units fire support both in defensive and offensive operations. Hence, for the combat capabilities of future ATGM systems to be expanded, the requirements to their effective range all through the depth of enemy’s military formations, conditions of use and target engagement rate – all have to be increased.
A future ATGM system must be a versatile defensive-offensive guided weapon, whose portable and combat vehicle transportable modifications ensure a wide range of applications in close range tactical zone in various combat environments.
The majority of the countries in the world today are armed with IInd generation portable and transportable-portable systems with semiautomatic guidance by wire line, like TOW (USA), Milan (Germany, France and Great Britain) and Konkurs (Russia) antitank guided weapon systems.
All the above-mentioned systems have two significant disadvantages:
- the use of a wire-line, which makes it impossible to fire on the move and imposes limitations on the missile flight speed and the system’s firing rate;
- vulnerability to jamming.
Hence, this type of weapons was sought to be improved already since 1980’s.
The IIIrd generation Kornet-E system developed by KBP and adopted in 1998 features a laser beam riding guidance system. It was the first ATGM system completely jamming proof and capable of firing on the move. As of today the
The main trend in foreign ATGM systems evolution consists in development of IIIrd generation systems with “fire-and-forget” principle implemented by the use of missile autonomous homing. Two systems of the kind were put into service until now: portable Javelin ATGM system (USA) with IR seeker and Spike-MR system (Israel) with combined TV/IR seeker.
The main advantages of the systems with autonomous homing as declared are:
- “fire-and-forget” principle which allows to increase crew survivability by giving an opportunity to leave firing position after a launch (salvo);
- capability to hit targets’ most vulnerable top projection.
However the engineering solutions implemented in such systems define both their advantages and disadvantages, i.e. their technical and economic characteristics are sacrificed for the fire-and-forget principle:
- seeker performance in terms of target acquisition imposes limitations on the firing range; by now it does not exceed
- reliable operation of a passive seeker requires higher contrast and optical resolution than those required for “operator-guidance unit” systems. This however does not guarantee engagement and destruction of all targets detected by operator and results in deterioration of the system’s versatility;
- there is high probability of homing failure both in case of jamming and in case of “normal” acquisition of target by the seeker.
The main disadvantage of guided missiles with seeker is their high cost which is 3 and more times higher than that of the missiles with semiautomatic guidance systems. Hence, even many prosperous countries can not afford adopting such systems, so they use limited quantity thereof in combination with previous generation ATGM systems.
The Kornet-EM multipurpose guided missile system offered by KBP makes it possible to meet contemporary requirements to future ATGM systems by using advanced and at the same time relatively inexpensive engineering solutions giving
Main Performance Specifications of the System
|Firing range, m |
|Guidance system||automatic, beam riding guidance|
|Number of targets engaged simultaneously by a salvo ||2|
|Armour penetration by shaped charge warhead, mm||1100-1300|
|TNT equivalent of high explosive warhead||7|
|Ammunition load, pcs |
- including ready-to-fire missiles
|Change-over from traveling to combat, seconds||7|
The use of technical vision with automatic target tracker makes it possible to exclude an operator from missile guidance process and in fact implements the “fire-and-forget” principle. This gives
Engagement of targets in automatic mode reduces psychophysical stress to operators, requirements to their skills and duration of their training.
The block-modular principle of system design traditionally used for the Kornet family makes it possible to install both one and two automatic launchers onto a wide range of relatively inexpensive low load bearing capacity platforms of various origin
Kornet-EM system in combat and traveling configurations
The combat vehicle with two launchers ensures simultaneous salvo firing against two targets, this significantly increasing the system’s firing rate and number of targets handled and at the same time allowing to twice reduce number of combat vehicles required to complete a combat mission. Similar to
The system’s firing range was almost doubled –
Increase of firing range and accuracy and use of automatic target tracker make it possible to track both slow ground targets and faster targets. This helps the
Attack helicopters are by now the most dangerous targets for land forces, as they can inflict maximum damage in minimum time. For example, a helicopter is able to destroy a company of armoured vehicles
UAV on a reconnaissance mission lets enemy well in advance disclose defence, give accurate target designation for firing over-the-horizon munitions, register and transmit information on army relocations both during operations near the line of contact with enemy and in the rear. This results in significant increase in casualties and possible failures of combat mission performance.
The air defence assets assigned to land forces are not numerous and their capabilities in countering this kind of targets are limited. To efficiently counter attack helicopters and UAV air defence assets should be available right in combat formations, because attack or reconnaissance flights are performed at low altitudes, so it becomes impossible to detect them with medium and short range air defence systems which are usually stationed deep in the home front.
Kornet-EM is the system able to efficiently accomplish these tasks.
Efficient engagement of aerial targets with Kornet-EM system is ensured due to combination of high precision guidance system and guided missile with thermobaric warhead equipped with impact and proximity target sensor and a flight range
Vertical section of aerial targets missile engagement zone
The use of proximity target sensor guarantees reliable engagement of aerial targets at any range. Combined with high explosive warhead the target proximity sensor makes it possible to compensate possible misses by destruction of UAV (or helicopter) by overpressure, if miss does not exceed 3 m.
The maximum flight range of the missile being equal to
Therefore, if required the Kornet-EM ATGM system is able to perform some functions of a SHORAD system ensuring coverage of friendly forces formations from helicopter and UAV attacks. None of other systems are capable of the same.
Joint use of Kornet-EM ATGM system adapted for countering low speed aerial targets with standard air defence assets significantly improves total efficiency of land forces tactical units’ air defence.
From the above said we can conclude that today
The Kornet-EM system includes:
- combat vehicle with two automatic launchers and operator’s panel with a display;
- guided missile with HE warhead with impact and proximity sensors and an antitank guided missile with firing range of
up to 10 km;
- an antitank guided missile with a maximum firing range of 8000 m and shaped charge warhead armour penetration
of 1100-1300 mmwhich enables the Kornet-EMsystem to engage contemporary and future tanks bearing in mind the tendency to growth of their armour protection.
The 9M133FM-3 guided missile
| || |
For engagement of ground targets like pillboxes, log-and-dirt fire emplacements, lightly armoured vehicles, enemy’s manpower including entrenched manpower, the missile can be fitted with
Automatic launcher with four ready-to-fire guided missiles thereon is fitted with
|Laying angles, deg |
|Angular laying speed, deg/s||up to 20|
|Number of ready-to-fire missiles||4|
|Thermal imager sight FOV, deg |
- TV wide
- TV narrow
- Range-finder observation channel
- IR wide
- IR narrow
|Distance measuring range||200-15000|
|Tracking error, RMS error, mrad||0.3|
|Module weight, kg||67.5|
Comparative analysis of the