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Joined: 24 Apr 2006 Posts: 330 Location: Indiana, USA
Posted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 12:08 pm Post subject: AAWS-M: from the 1960's DRAGON to today's JAVELIN Story
NOTE> SCROLL TO LAST MESSAGE FOR PHOTOS
Photo below was an early art illustration by Texas Instrument of their AAWS-M candidate the JAVELIN in an imagined combat in the Middle East. Strangely that was where the JAVELIN was first used in combat in northern Iraq in the Spring of 2003. NOTE> Scroll down to last messages of this thread for more photos. All are mid 1980 photos.
* "The most important weapon to achieving victory is the tank. The most important weapon in depriving the enemy of victory is the anti-tank weapon." (Inside the Soviet Weapon, written by a defecting Russian colonel)
In 1985 I ordered by a magazine to research the US Army and Marine's M-47 Dragon MAW (medium antitank missile) replacement program: AAWS-M for Advance Antitank Weapon System - Medium. The AAWS-M program -- and the Dragon -- in the 1980s became on of the US Army's most controversial weapons programs since the Lockheed AH-56 Cheyenne attack helicopter of the late Vietnam War era and it was the US Army's fourth program attempt to replace the Dragon. From the start I decided I was going to avoid what the rest of the news media found as their favorite sport: Defense Industry Pig-Sticking. I even sent the rough draft of my article notes in to be reviewed for errors and comments by the three firms that got contracts to build candidates for the AAWS-M progam. (Learned really quick that the pig-sticking wasn't just by the news media and it was not just the news media that would slant or distort facts). In the following messages of this thread over the nexts days I am going to try and fill the readers in on the history of the AAWS-M program and why, etc. But understand my notes and photos, etc go only up to approximately 1990. After that the full time job I had said "Either take care of me full time, or you may not be able to pay your bills." And contrary to most myths in the US very few journalists (ie especially defense journalists) make very much money. That is why most of them find another line of work or go to work for a defense firm in the public relations department. Something I was not willing to consider because I had a very good (ie admitted mind numbing and dirty) job that paid dang good money and had great benefits. Finally, I hope the readers of the following messages will remember that in the 1980s the Berlin Wall had not fallen and the USSR and the huge Red Army with tens of thousand of main battle tanks still very much existed.
* "The Soviet Union may not amount to much as a producer of ladie's fashions or computers, but it remains the world's leading producer of armored and mechanized divisions." (Entering the Postnuclear Age, by Edward Luttwak)
* "A proposed [weapon] system which fulfills only the requirements of today will assuredly be inadequate tomorrow." (Submarine Warfare: Today and Tomorrow)
* "You do not have to design new tactics to sacrifice more infantry; our current antitank weapons do that very adequately." (Phillip A. Karber, DoD analysts May 1987 AFJI)
What all caused the Dragon and its replacement programs to be so controversial. Well besides the weapon itself there are three reasons:
1. The 1979-80 Iran-Hostage Crisis
2. Task Force Smith
3. Testimony in March 1979 to Congress by William Perry/Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, Percy Pierre/Assistant Secretary of the Army for Reseach and Development and Acquistion and Lt. General Donald R. Keith/Deputy Chief of Staff for Research and Development.
Anyone born in the 1960s or earlier remembers the Iranian-Hostage Crisis. Worst than the humiliation was the discovery about how weak the US military was to fight a war any place other than in Europe. If the US and Iran had had went to war in the first months they would have went to war with just US Army airborne forces and some Marine battalions and with limited air support from carriers off shore. The ground forces would have in absences of air support been totally reliant on their antitank weapons: ie the M72 Light Antitank Weapon (LAW), the DRAGON Medium Antitank Weapon (MAW) and the TOW HAW Heavy Antitank Weapon (HAW). The problem was that with the exception of the TOW MAW no one had any faith in the ability of the M72 LAW and very little faith in the Dragon MAW to do the deed. That is where Task Force Smith comes in.
In the Summer of 1950 the North Korean Army came crashing across the border of South Korea and unlike the South Korean Army they had hundreds of Russian T-34/85 tanks. The South Korean Army was soon overwhelmed and in a massive retreat to the south. The General MacArthur was ordered by Truman to use military force to stop the North Koreans. The first ground units sent to help the South Koreans was a US Army ad hoc combat team called Task Forces Smith. The first engagement of US ground forces with the North Koreans took place near the city of Osan. The attacking North Koreans had 30 T-34/85 tanks. They attacked in the rain where air support was not available. The results was a disaster. Because at that time the US Army had no way of moving tanks by air transport all Task Force Smith had was one battery of 105mm cannons with a limited number of the new HEAT antitank rounds, a few 75mm recoiless rifles and a good number of 2.36 inch bazookas. The 105mm cannons took out two tanks before they were themselves knocked out and then it came down to the infantry antitank weapons. And for all the claims that the soldiers had been told about the 75mm recoiless rifle and their bazookas they discovered what the South Koreans had discovered in the first two days and could not stop the North Korean tanks. Only the fast airlift of 105mm HEAT rounds and the newer 3.5 inch Super Bazooka directly from the factory saved the US Army forces in Soth Korea from being totally over run like the South Korean Army had been. The US Army never forgot what happened to Task Force Smith.
Then came the testimony to Congress in March 1979. Those three Pentagon officals told members that NATO antitank weapons -- ie including those of the US military -- could not do the deed against the new Russian T-72 and future T-80 main battle tank which Russia was fielding in the thousands. Later a semi-classified crash improvement program got TOW up to the deed. But no one, with the exception of the manufacture McDonald-Douglas, had any faith that such a crash program could do the same for the the M-47 Dragon. The Dragon was a marvel of US technology to replace the 3.5 inch Super Bazooka and 90mm recoiless rifle. The program began in 1966 and was to be like the TOW, being tube launched and wire guided with a system of guidance where all the gunner had to do after launch was keep the cross hairs on the target and the missile would be guided to impact of the target, but unlike the TOW, the Dragon was to be manportable (ie unlike the TOW which was was men packable). In fact the US Army wanted a weapon for the airborne forces where one soldier could parachute and carry into combat both the round (ie the missile in its container which is also launched from) and sight-tracker (ie what the gunner tracks the tank with and which tracks the missile and automatically guides it to the gunner's aim point). It was a VERY tall order. Other NATO nations developed weapons that required at least two men: one with the sight-tracker unit and one with the missile round in its container. Development of the Dragon was completed in 1971 and limited production started in 1972.
The Dragon missile is extremely interesting in how it gets from Point A to Point B. It is launched by a gas generator (ie so the gunner is not burned by a rocket motor) which is interesting in itself. But the substainer and physical guidance system is unique and used by no other missile. After it is ejected by the gas generator the Dragon missile is tracked by the gunner sight via a tungsten lamp flare in the rear of the missile and commands are sent down the three wires spooling out the back to guide the Dragon missile back into the gunners line of sight. This is where it gets interesting folks: Around the body of the Dragon missile are 60 small rocket motors called side-thrusters (ie many refer to them as "bang" rockets because they make a sharp bang) which are canted at 40 degrees aft. They are arrayed in 12 rows of five side-thrusters each. When fired they not only move the missile forward, but to the side and up and down. And as the missile moves towards the target it is slowly rotating and the missiles on board gyro knows which row to fire a side-thruster to either adjust the missiles's flight path or give a boost to keep it going down range. This whole complex system was adopted to meet the US Army's (the Marines 99% of the time have to follow the US Army on AT weapons) requirement for a TOW like one man medium antiarmor weapon. But it came at a price: ie RANGE and TIME OF FLIGHT. The Dragon while meeting the US Army's 1000 meter range requirement did not meet NATO's requirement for a medium antitank weapon which was 2000 meters. And the unique side-thruster system also caused the Dragon to have a long time of flight to maximum range of almost 13 seconds -- ie that means the gunner is exposed to enemy counter fire that whole 13 some seconds which while a blink of an eye to normal people would be eternity to a Dragon gunner in combat.
* "It is not enough to aim, you must hit" (Think Again, by R. Anthony)
Also, as time went by and the Dragon was operational and more and more firings were done by the troops it was issued to it was discovered that its unique side-thruster system effected the PK (ie out of 100 missiles fired, how many will hit the target) was between 60% to 70% -- ie the USMC Dragon PK firings in training was higher because they had dedicated Dragon gunners that fired a lot more rounds. Also the system where the Dragon missile was fired off of a bipod with the missile container and gas generator resting on the gunner's shoulder caused a lot of rounds in training to fly into the ground, because of the sudden shift in weight. Then came the really bad news. The manufacture of the Dragon hinted that the Dragon had a maximum penetration of up to 24 inches, but in reality it was somewhere around 16 inches (ie tanks do not have 16 inches of actual armor, but with slanting of it it can give a penetration path of more than that). So that even if the Dragon missile with its inadequate range and low PK hit the tank target it might not penetrate the tanks armor. Especially the new Russian T-72 and worst it had no chance of all if the T-72 or even older tanks was fitted with reactive armor tiles (ie they work by exploding a metal sheet across the sides of a HEAT warheads partical stream -- ie a HEAT warhead's partical stream is extremely powerful going forward but is extremely vulnerable to side forces). Unlike the larger TOW the Dragon missile had very little room for improvement. Any fitting of a stand-off probe (ie something difficult to do anyway in a missile the size of the Dragon) to increase penetration or increase the diameter of the warhead, would drastically effect the range and stablity of the Dragon.
So this gets us to third part of the story. The birth (ie rebirth, etc) of AAWS-M.
* "It takes forever and a day for the US Army to go out and buy something and issue it to the troops in the field." (General E. Page in Defense News July 28th 1987 who was in charge of US Army's R&D of new weapons)
AAWS-M was a step-son of the US Army's late 1970s and early 1980s program to replace the Dragon called IMAAWS (Infantry Man-Portable Anti-Armor System) in which Honeywell and McDonnell-Douglas were to develop 2000 meter replacement for the Dragon using low risk technology tank missile, with one of the two systems being picked in 1981 and becoming operational in 1984. Both candidates had to be able to defeat any present or foreseeable armored threat, have a soft launch and have a weight limit of 55 lbs for a two man system and 45 lbs for a one man system. Along with IMMAWS the US Army had the Pentagon's Defense Advance Research Project Agency (DARPA) start a small research program high risk advance technology top-attack and some kind of advance Imaging IR guidance. This program was called Tank Breaker.
Honeywell developed an IMMAWS system using a top-attack missile that would overfly the target and explode a 155mm explosive formed slug downward into the target using a millimeter fusing system (ie the type of guidance was never stated but is believed to be wire-guided), while MCD developed a direct attack system that used laser-beam riding with a conventional 155mm HEAT warhead. Both were huge weapons. The Honeywell system looked like a Dragon on steroids! In late 1980 both firms showed mock-ups to the US Army's Missile Command and were approved and contarcts were issued for development of the actual system with test firings in 1982 to pick one of the two for production. Then suddenly in late 1980 the US Army without public comment canceled both IMAAWS programs with the hope of restarting it, which never happened (ie why the different manufactures could not have come up with a practical solution like the Swedish Bofors BILL is beyond me). Supposedly the infantry people at Ft Benning, GA told the US Army people at MICOM that both candidates were not "...what they wanted for the troops" and "...we can't have a one man 55 lb recoiless rifle on the battlefield...". So for MICOM it was back to the drawing board with DARPA's Tank Breaker considered the prime candidate because it does not require a huge 155mm warhead. The US Army's hope of having a Dragon replacement sent to the units in the field by 1984 was way off track. No one I think realized at the time that it was off the road though. Before I go any further I think I should explain five terms that are important: "HEAT", "Penetration Path", "Laser-Beam Riding" and "Imaging IR" and "EFP":
* HEAT - Is the letters for "High Explosive Anti Tank. Is the term the US Army and Marines use to describe a warhead that uses a shape charge with the Monroe Effect -- ie the Monroe Effect being a shape charge that uses a cone liner of some kind of material, usually copper. For the record. No matter how many articles, military manuals, etc you read HEAT warheads do not burn through armor. What happens is the high explosive compound is detonated from the back and as the explosive shock wave moves out and forward it compresses the cone in the front part into a metal stream which while small in diameter is extremely powerful. A HEAT warhead's penetration ability is based on mainly its diameter. Four to Five being the best numbers. For example if a HEAT warhead is 5 inches in diameter it will have between 20 inches to 25 inches of penetration ability against armor plating. There are other factors like the design of the cone and the standoff distance of detonation from the HEAT warhead's cone. But it is basically the diameter of the HEAT warhead that is the main factor in penetration.
* Penetration Path - Most people think that if a tank has 12 inchs of armor then all it takes is a weapon that can penetrate a little over 12 inches of armor to be effective. Not so. take a yard stick and lay it on a table. Then take a 2X4 and lay it on the yardstick so you can measure the "2" part of that 2X4. Then start to tilt back that two by four and look at the yardstick when you have it at 45 degrees then 60 degrees from where you orginally have it. You will notice that 2 inches suddenly increases to 4 inches to 6 inches. Most tanks have their frontal armor angled to drastically increase what an an antiarmor weapon will have to penetrate. That is why top-attack weapons are more effective than direct-attack weapons as the penetration path is the true or near-true actual thickiness of the tanks armor.
* Laser-Beam Riding - This is one of the more recent methods of guidance for guided weapons (ie along with laser-homing). Unlike a light beam a laser beam is very narrow and does not scatter. With laser-beam riding the laser detectors face to the rear of the missile. There are two versions: One is where four laser detectors face backwards and when one detector detects less of the beam than the other three control signals are given to bring all four to equal. The other is where the launcher puts out an encoded gride (ie sort of like a bingo card). The one detector in the missiles rear picks up the encoded signal (ie for example N-3 being the center and O-5 being the right-hand bottom corner) and steers the missile to the center grid).
* Imaging IR - This term covers a lot of sinners. From focal-plan IR array to the now common forward-looking-infrared (FLIR). Everyone knows about heat seeking air to air missiles like the Sidewinder. Simple IR guidance works well out in the sky or even at sea for weapons. But no so well against targets on the land. The best way to describe the difference between simple IR and imaging IR is to have a friend drive you are town at night with a really dark pair of sunglasses. Put those sunglasses on while in the passenger seat. You will notice you can spot the other car's headlights and the streetlights, but you can nothing else. That is basically the detection and guidance ability simple IR has where it can see only hot-spots and not the inbetween in the IR spectrum (ie that is why the early IR homing weapons were so easy to decoy with flares). With imaging IR it is like when you take those sunglasses off. The problem (ie at least in the early 1980s) with imaging IR is that the detector grid is not only complex, but expensive. And while developing imaging IR units in the size and weight needed for night vision devices like used on helicopters, it is a different ball game for a 4 inch to 5 inch diameter missile.
* EFP - Is the term for Explosive Formed Projectile. Sometimes called self-forming fragment warhead. This is nothing more than a HEAT warhead with a much thicker and very shallow metal cone. Instead of the explosive force converting the cone to a narrow penetration stream it converts it into a high powered slug. The advantage with an EFP warhead is that it can penetrate armor (ie out to a certain limit) whether it is exploded very close to the armor or a distant from it, unlike HEAT which requires its warhead to be exploded at almost the correct distances. Also, an EFP warhead has a heck of lot more effect once it penetrates the tanks armor. Also, unlike a HEAT warhead it is not effected by reactive armor tiles. The disadvantage is it does not penetrate as much armor for the same diameter as a HEAT warhead.
NOTE> When IMMAWS was canceled there were those in NATO in Europe (ie and some in the US military) who stated that the intelligence wonks who collected info on the Warsaw Pact were "way" overstating the Russian T-72/T-80 "boogie man". Today, it is now known that they were correct. But even at that, the Dragon could not defeat the T-72/T-80 frontally.
Last edited by jackehammond on Mon Aug 23, 2010 4:33 am; edited 8 times in total
Joined: 24 Apr 2006 Posts: 330 Location: Indiana, USA
Posted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 12:10 pm Post subject:
TANK BREAKER was the next sage in the AAWS-M/Javelin program after IMAAWS was canceled in late 1980 (ie the US Army tried to restart IMAAWS under a new program where the weight was restricted to 35lbs called RATTLER, but Congress refused to fund the program). Tank Breaker was a very high risk solution for a medium infantry antitank weapon to replace the Dragon. It relied on advance imaging technology and a top-attack profile where the missile would impact the tank at a 40 degree angle with the HEAT warheads penetration stream penetrating the turret/hull and reaching to the ammunition storage. The US Army figured that to defend against a top-attack missile (ie having the same armor protection as the frontal hull/turret) hwould require a tank in the 150tn to 200tn range. Something totally impractical for even the Russians. Tank Breaker was orginally under Pentagon's DARCOM but was transfered to the US Army's Missile Command who still used DARCOM for testing and development. The first specifications for Phase 1 of Tank Breaker was issued in April 1980 called for a system with an all up weight of 35 lbs firing a missile no longer than 48 inches and 4 inches in diameter; lock on before launch; day-night and adverse condition ability (ie smoke, fog, rain); top-attack ability; minimum range of 50 meters and a maximum range of 2000 meters. MICOM also wanted a soft-launch ability with hardly any launch signature to give the launch position away and allow it to be used in enclosed spaces. It was a big order. And the US Army knew it. Some say that the US Army asked for to much. But the Because of the high chance of failure Four, instead of two, firms were picked to develop Tank Breaker systems for futher testing: McDonnell-Douglas teamed with RCA, Hughes Missiles, Rockwell International and Texas Instruments. All four firms came up with unique launch systems to give the Tank Breaker missiles a soft launch ability and control of the missile on launch -- ie you have to till the missile can reach speed where enough air flow is over the control surfaces. By early 1981 the four firms focal array IR seekers had begun captive tests from a specially modified HUEY.
After testing the four candidates seekers -- ie the important part -- in July 1981 the US Army picked Hughes Missiles (ie then called Hughes Aircraft) and Texas Instruments to proceed to Phase 2 of Tank Breaker. At that time both the Hughes Missiles and Texas Instruments missiles used a boost-substainer motor. Hughes Missiles looked like a scaled down TOW 2 and used a stored gas system blowing over the controls to give control at low speed till the sustainer motor kicked and brought the missile to a flight speed where enough air moved over the back fins for control. The Texas Instrument missile looked like a scaled down Hellfire missile with four folding swept fins in the rear and at midbody a unique eight semi swept fins and eight small strakes around the nose. I thought the eight midbody (ie reduced to six later one) fins was to give low speed stability, but I was told by the program manager that it was important for the all important pitch-over of the missile for the top-attack. For low speed control right after the missile leaves the launcher the Texas Instrument missile used vanes in the tail thrust to control the missile till the sustainer kicked in and enough speed was reached to where the four rear fins could take over. Texas instrument used a combination of Missiles had a IR focal-plan array that used 62X58 elements and Texas Instruments used 64x64 elements. Also, the US Army wanted both firms to use a booster rocket motor that was not toxic if fired from enclosed spaces.
And now this is where it gets interesting. Both Hughes Missiles and Texas Instrument meant to keep both the cost and weight down and were designing their orginal missiles as possible disposable. Their designed called for the gunner to sight and lock on the the target using the missile seeker itself with the image downloaded to the gunner via a small cheap cathode ray tubes (TV type) or the new liquid-crystal displays (like you see on watches, etc). Each of the missiles would be provided with a couple of 1lb packs containing the battery for power and a gas bottle for cooling down the seekers which would provide up to 1 hour of operation. I don't have any photos of the orginal Hughes Missiles Tank Breaker system mockups (loaned the photos and never got them back) but I do of the Texas Instrument and you would not believe the difference in size and what was eventually put into production. The orginal Hughes Missile Tank Breaker system looked like a sawed off 3.5 inch bazooka in size with a small square sight on the side. The Texas Instruments is some what larger. Also, both manufactures were stating that for an added weight of 1 lb to the missile the range could be extended to 3500 meters. Both firms stated that in 1984 dollars Tank Breaker would be $10,000 to $20,000 per missile. (I have no idea what the present cost is today, but I would bet that $20,000 is not even close.)
NOTE> ASSAULT BREAKER was the artillery solution to defeating a mass armored assault with smart submunitions ejected from 155mm shells and MLRS rockets which parachuted over attacking columns and located armored vehicles and exploded a slug into the tank. One of them was SADARM and BAT.
Last edited by jackehammond on Wed Aug 02, 2006 8:34 am; edited 1 time in total
Joined: 24 Apr 2006 Posts: 330 Location: Indiana, USA
Posted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 12:12 pm Post subject:
I am going to skip a few years between the TANK BREAKER tests in 1981 and 1982 to April 29th 1986 when the US Army Missile Command (MICOM) issued a Request For Purposals (RFP) for a technology demonstrator for a future weapon system to replace the medium range wire-guided antitank missile the Dragon. The system was refered to as the Advance Antitank Weapon System - Medium or AAWS-M. At last the US Army was getting off its a** on replacing the Dragon which was long overdue.
The requirements were:
* The ability to defeat any armored threat in the 21st century.
* A Range of at least 2,000 meters.
* A total max system weight of 20.5 kg, but the US Army made it clear that a total weight under 15.5 kg was very desirable.
* A Length of no more than 122 cm.
* Be ready to fire from turning on to firing of one minute. And a firing rate of 3 rounds a minute.
* Have a add-on remote launch capability - the gunner with the control launch unit (CLU) one place and the missile another place.
* The ability to be fired from an enclosed space -- ie soft launch.
* AND THE BIG ONE: "Must have a capacity to engage amor under cover or in hull defilade.
In June 1986 MICOM issued contracts to three contractors totalling 30 million dollars to Texas Instrument, Hughes Missile and a surprise Ford-Aeropace. All three AAWS-M candidates were to be tested between February to August 1988 with one of the three systems picked March of 1989 for full scale development with initial operational deployment taking place by mid 1990s.
The three systems to be tested were:
* TEXAS INSTRUMENTS - The TI AAWS-M candidate followed its TANK BREAKER mode and used a focal plan IR seeker of 64X64 elements. The target was first acquired by the CLU and then the gunner slaved the missiles seeker and "narrowed the gate" on certain part of the target and locked it before launch. At launch a small rocket motor ejected the missile from its container. Since the missile did not have enough speed for the fins to control the missile in flight thrust vector controls moves against the small rocket motor till enough speed is picked up so the fins can control the missile. The missile has two modes of attack. A direct attack like most antitank missiles have and diving top-attack that flies up to 150 meters and then dives on top of the tank. TI project manager stated that the 6 mid located pop out fins were important to the missile being able to tip over and attack the top of its target. The TI AAWS-M system was a totally fire-and-forget. Once the missile left the launcher the gunner was free to take cover. To the US Army this was important, because the the major anti-ATGW tactic was to fire at the gunners position to make him "flinch." In other words the tank commanders know that trying to shoot the "messenger" will in no way have an effect on the "message" after launch.
* HUGHES MISSILES - Hughes Missiles AAWS-M orginal TANK BREAKER mode was like the TI AAWS-M a true fire-and-forget. But its AAWS-M candidate made two drastic changes. One, was a vastly superior focal plan IR seeker. Unlike the TI AAWS-M which had 64X64 elements (ie the more elements the better the "picture") the HM AAWS-M used 256X256 elements. The author at AUSA 1987 saw the IR "picture" of the HM seeker and it was AWESOME. It was like a black-white TV picture. The second was the use of fiber-optic cable. Unlike the TI AAWS-M which after launch the missiles internal electronics totally controlled the missile, the HM AAWS-M just sent the "picture" back to the CLU and the CLU looked at the picture and sent control commands back to the missile. That helped off-set the cost of having a more expensive IR seeker. It also gave the added advantage of allowing the gunner during flight to re-lock the missile before impact -- ie useful when engaging bunkers or buildings. This feature also allowed the HM AAWS-M to be fired "blind" at a target not in sight (ie like behind buildings or trees) and then locked on in flight. This feature was touted as being very desirable for engaging helicopters. But under heavy combat conditions the HM AAWS-M gunner could drop the CLU and take cover after launch. But unlike the TI AAWS-M, the HM AAWS-M gunner can not reload the CLU till impact. The HM missile used a stored gas system to blow gas over the rear flight controls till speed was picked up where air flow was enough over the rear fins. The HM AAWS-M also had two modes of attack. Direct Attack for use against light armor and field fortifications and diving top-attack for engaging heavily armored main battle tanks.
* FORD-AEROSPACE - The FA AAWS-M RFP being issued a contract came as a surprise to everyone. I mean "everyone". As stated in an earlier message TANK BREAKER was "high" risk technology. The US Army was really hoping that an AAWS-M system using TANKER BREAKER technoloy could be made to work. But what if it was found out that it didn't? Start over? The Dragon should have been replaced in 1982. So the US Army had a fall-back system. And that would be the FA AAWS-M. FA system used CO2 laser beam riding where the laser sensors looked backwards to the launcher and followed an invisable laser beam to the target. A CO2 laser is used for the beam because it can penetrate fog, smoke, etc. FA had worked on an alternative Stinger that used laser-beam riding incase the IR Stinger had failed. The gunner with the FA AAWS-M gunner acquires the target with the CLU and then presses the fire button. Moments before launch the CLU stabalization system cuts in -- ie the author fired the simulator and the pre to post stablization is something to be seen. Like the other two AAWS-M candidates the FA AAWS-M missile is ejected by a small rocket motor. After it costs safely clear of the gunner the main substainer motor kicks and brings it up to speed (ie the speed is high subsonic and a lot faster than the TI and HM candidates). At launch the laser-beam is set wide to acquire the missile and then narrowed down to the just slight larger than the diameter of the missile (ie similar to the Swedish Bofors RBS-70 menportable surface to air missile). Unlike the TI and HM AAWS-M which had a direct attack and diving top-attack, the FA candidate has only one: at fly over top-attack. The FA missile flies to its target about a meter and a half above the aim point. As it approaches the tank a sensor titled forward picks it up. This readies the detonation system. When it no longer detects the tank it explodes two explosive forged projectiles downward into the tanks top. One of the EFPs is slanted slightly backwards. Unlike the TI and HM AAWS-M candidates there is no direct attack mode of which FA represenatives admitted that it would not be very good against no armored targets. And the FA is not fire-and-forget. But FA claims the high subsonic speed makes the engagement time so fast that the ability of counter fire against the gunner would have no effect. Also, FA claimed that their candidate had a range far superior to the other two candidates. And while it is not a fire and forget FA claimed that their system can not be jammed or decoyed or defeated by IR absorbing smoke as the other two could be. The FA AAWS-M candiadate was also the only one to be near the "desireable" 15.5 kg weight for complete system ready to fire. The FA AAWS-M was also the cheaper of the three AAWS-M candidates. And by a wide margin. No one expected the FA AAWS-M candidate of having a chance to win the final contract if either candidate worked reasonably well. But it seems one "customer" was impressed with the FA AAWS-M system: the Russians. It seems that Kornet is clone to the FA laser-beaming riding only instead of two EFP it uses an advance HEAT warhed.
The US Army MICOM was not happy with the weight and cost of the two fire and forget systems that TI and HM offered. Both firms told MICOM that the weight could be easily kept within the requirements if the CLU did not have to have its own day-night FLIR system, instead using the missiles seeker head to both guide the missile and acquire the target before launch. It became a pretty heated internal debate between MICOM and the two firms. The US Army insisted on the CLU having a day-night FLIR. So everyone learned to live with a higher cost and heavier weight.
Now to cut to the chase. In 1989 MICOM picked the TI candidate for full scale development and production. FA accepted it and went on (note, Raytheon acquired FA and used the technology to develop a heavier vehicle mounted missile called Sabre, but nothing came of it). HM had its Congresspersons put up a fuss for a while, but shortly after gave up trying to reverse MICOM's decision (note, they started a joint development with Spain but funding dried up). The US Army had made it clear from the start that it wanted a "true" fire-and-forget AAWS-M with diving top-attack ability and the only one that met the requirement was Texas Instruments AAWS-M candidate which they and the US Army named JAVELIN. JAVELIN completed initial operational test of 157 production missiles in December of 1993 with 157 missile fired with a reported 90% success rate. Full production approval was granted by the Department of Defense in June 1994. The first known use of JAVELIN was in the Spring of 2003 in the deserts of western Iraq by Australian SAS units and by US Army Special Ops operating in northern Iraq.
Joined: 24 Apr 2006 Posts: 330 Location: Indiana, USA
Posted: Wed Aug 02, 2006 8:48 am Post subject: The DRAGON
NOTE> Thumbnails - Click to see full size photos
Photos below show the Generation 1 Dragon. Considered by many to be the worst antitank missile ever developed. It was hated by everyone in the US Army because they knew the Dragon crew did not stand a chance of surviving after lauch. Besides a horrible accuracy, its range was only 1000 meters and the launch signature was extremely high. After launch the Dragon missile was pushed/guided through the air by little rockets that when they were ignited made the Dragon missile look like it had a string of fire crackers attached to it. The Dragon was so bad that the US Marines wanted to replace them with a small buy of MILAN antitank missiles from France.
The photos below are of Generation II and Generation III Dragon which the manufacture came up with in answer to the orginal Dragon's inability to defeat the Russian T-72 tank. Generation II was a Dragon retro fitted with a full size warhead developed for the Swiss Army Dragons. Generatio n III added a stand off probe and another rocket motor to increase range. Generation II was adopted by the US Army and Marines. No nation adoped the Generation III Dragon. The third photo is of a new generation sight/guidance unit that the manufacture offered that was lighter and more reliable and combined both the day/night in one unit. The last photo is of the Iranian copy of the Dragon Generation I fitted with a stand off probe similar to the US designed Generation III. No one can understand why Iran would want to reverse engineer the Dragon and place it in production.
Note> A South African arms firm developed for the Swiss Army a unit that allows the remote control of the Dragon missile in either day or night. Basically the problem with the gunner throwing the missile off course on launch and suppression fire is solved.
Last edited by jackehammond on Wed Dec 02, 2009 6:18 am; edited 3 times in total
Joined: 24 Apr 2006 Posts: 330 Location: Indiana, USA
Posted: Wed Aug 02, 2006 9:25 am Post subject: The THree AAWS-M Candidates
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In answer to the US Army's request for purposals, Raytheon sent in this paper study which was rejected. Strangely, Raytheon ended up buying Texas Instruments and now manufactures the Javelin in the US state of Arizona along with the heavier TOW.
The US Army wanted a fire and forget missile for AAWS-M. But "just in case" they could not get one they issued a contract to Ford Aerospace to develop a laser beam riding AAWS-M. The Russian KORNET that everyone is worried about operates on the same principle. Although the Ford Aerospace AAWS-M candidate uses two EFP warheads similar to TOW-2B.
The runner up in the US Army's AAWS-M contest was the Hughes Missile candidate which used a fiber optic cable link to the launcher unit. Of all the candiates the Hughes Missile was the most jam proof because of its fiber optic cable link. But the US Army insisted on a "true" fire and forget weapon. It also had the highest resolution seeker unit. Strangely, the Israeli Army Gill/Spike is a smaller version of the Hughes Missile AAWS-M. And is in service today with many nations (Finland, Singapore, etc).
The winner of the US Army's AAWS-M program was the Texas Instrument JAVELIN which was a true "fire and forget" antitank missile. These are early photos of the JAVELIN. The photo of the stainless steel missile was for wind tunnel test. The last photo is of the early wooden mock up with an CLU that did not have an FLIR unit and relied on the seeker head in the missile itself to aquire the target for the gunners sight unit. Finally, the JAVELINS first test of combat was in Iraq. The Marines used it first in against a building, but the first time it was used against armor was in northern Iraq stopping a counter attack held by the Kurds backed up by US Army Special Forces. Also there are reports that the Australian SAS used the JAVELIN on western Iraq in 2003 also. The photo of the helicopter shows the homing head being tested against an armored target.
Last edited by jackehammond on Sat Oct 28, 2006 7:13 pm; edited 1 time in total
Joined: 24 Apr 2006 Posts: 330 Location: Indiana, USA
Posted: Sat Nov 21, 2009 5:35 am Post subject: Japanese Copy Raytheon's 1985 AAWS-M Concept for Type 01
Check the link below and the brochure information provided by Raytheon shown in one of the previous messages. I wonder if Kawasaki paid any consultation fees to Raytheon. There Type 01 ATGW is almost a dead ringer for their AAWS-M concept the offered the US Army in 1985.
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