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New Russian highly mobile anti-tank units using an all-terrain type vehicle fight Ukrainian tanks

In a significant announcement, the Russian Ministry of Defense confirmed on June 8, 2023, the establishment of specialized light units focused on combating enemy armored vehicles and tanks. The newly formed units employ all-terrain type vehicles equipped with the AT-4 Spigot, a potent anti-tank guided missile system.
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High-mobility anti-tank unit swiftly navigating rugged terrain in an all-terrain type vehicle, armed with an AT-4 Spigot missile launcher. (Picture source Russian MoD video footage)

To demonstrate the battle readiness of these units, the Russian Ministry of Defense released video footage highlighting their operational capabilities. The video reveals that these units played a key role in thwarting recent attacks by Ukrainian forces. Thanks to their superior maneuverability and high passability, these units can traverse challenging terrains, swiftly secure favorable firing positions and execute effective hit-and-run tactics.

A notable segment of the video presents a Ukrainian Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) that unknowingly comes within the firing range of a Russian Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) system. A clear testament to the speed and stealth of these units, they can outflank enemy tanks and target their relatively thinner armor.

According to the footage, these ATGM units have already eliminated four enemy APCs and two tanks, demonstrating their efficiency and combat effectiveness. When not engaged in combat, the personnel are seen making optimal use of their downtime, continually adapting and customizing their vehicles for peak readiness.

The unveiling of these units coincides with escalating tensions in the region, highlighting the strategic importance of highly mobile and specialized forces in the evolving battlefield landscape.

The all-terrain type vehicles offer distinct tactical advantages, most significantly their mobility, allowing for rapid repositioning, strategic retreats, and effective pursuits. The ATVs' smaller size and footprint compared to traditional armored vehicles provide them with a level of stealth and make them ideal for ambush scenarios.

Equipped with the Soviet-made AT-4 Spigot anti-tank guided missile system, these units can adjust the missile's course mid-flight to engage moving targets, while the missile's high penetration capability makes it effective against most main battle tanks.

These agile, adaptive forces epitomize a shift towards more dynamic responses in modern warfare, setting a new benchmark in effective and efficient combat operations.

New Russian highly mobile anti tank units using Polaris type vehicle fight Ukrainian tank units 925 002
A close-up image of the AT-4 Spigot anti-tank guided missile, securely mounted on an all-terrain type vehicle. (Picture source Russian MoD)

The AT-4 Spigot, also known by its Russian designation 9K111 Fagot, is a Soviet-made anti-tank guided missile system. Introduced in the 1970s, it was developed as a successor to the 9K11 Malyutka (AT-3 Sagger) with improved range, accuracy, and penetration capabilities.

The AT-4 Spigot is a wire-guided missile, meaning that the operator must maintain line-of-sight with the target and manually guide the missile to impact. This guidance system allows the operator to adjust the missile's course mid-flight and to engage moving targets, but it also leaves the operator exposed while the missile is in flight, which could be up to 2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles) away.

The missile is capable of penetrating up to 400 mm of rolled homogeneous armor (RHA), making it effective against most main battle tanks. It's usually fired from a portable launcher which can be tripod-mounted for improved stability.

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