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Russian Forces Intensify Use of Advanced AT-13 Saxhorn-2 Anti-Tank Guided Missiles in Ukraine

On December 21, 2023, the Russian Ministry of Defense released a video on their VK social network showing that Russian forces deployed in Ukraine have increasingly been using the AT-13 Saxhorn-2, also known as the Metis-M or 9K115-2, as their primary anti-tank weapon against Ukrainian tanks and heavy armored vehicles. This advanced missile system, an upgrade of the original Metis, is specifically designed to counter modern armored vehicles with enhanced range and penetration capabilities.
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The latest variant of the AT-13 Saxhorn-2 has a firing range from 80 to 2,000 m. (Picture source Russian MoD)

The AT-13 Saxhorn-2, also known as the Metis-M or 9K115-2, is a Russian anti-tank missile system that represents a significant evolution in the field of portable anti-tank weaponry. Its development was primarily driven by the need to enhance the range and penetration capabilities over its predecessor, the original Metis (AT-7 Saxhorn). The Saxhorn-2 was designed to be more effective, particularly in engaging modern armored vehicles, while retaining the portability and ease of operation that made the original system popular.

The AT-13 Saxhorn-2 emerged in the late 1990s, a period marked by rapid advancements in military technology. Russia, keen on maintaining a competitive edge in anti-tank warfare, focused on upgrading its existing arsenal. The Saxhorn-2 was a direct response to the evolving battlefield dynamics, where engagements could occur at greater distances and against more heavily armored targets.

On the Ukrainian battlefield, the AT-13 Saxhorn-2 has demonstrated its effectiveness. Its use in various conflicts, including the ongoing tensions and skirmishes in Eastern Europe, underscores its relevance in modern warfare. The system's portability makes it particularly useful in diverse combat scenarios, including urban warfare, where mobility and quick deployment are crucial.

The Saxhorn-2 system comprises several key components: the launcher, the missile, and the guidance system. The missile itself is wire-guided, a feature that requires the operator to maintain line-of-sight with the target until impact. This guidance method, while somewhat limiting in dynamic environments, offers accuracy and reliability, especially against stationary or slow-moving targets.

The missile of the Saxhorn-2 is designed for penetration and effectiveness against modern armor. It can effectively engage targets at a range of up to 1,500 meters, a significant improvement over its predecessor. This extended range allows operators to engage targets from safer distances, a crucial advantage in modern combat where enemy vehicles are often equipped with their own countermeasures.

The warhead of the Saxhorn-2 is another critical aspect. It is designed to defeat reactive armor, a common feature on modern tanks and armored vehicles. This capability ensures that the missile can penetrate and inflict significant damage on even the most well-protected targets.

In combat, the AT-13 Saxhorn-2 has proven to be a versatile and effective tool. Its ease of use, combined with its potent warhead and extended range, makes it a favored choice for infantry units needing a reliable anti-tank solution. The system's main features, including its portability, accuracy, and powerful warhead, have made it a respected and feared weapon on the modern battlefield.

Overall, the AT-13 Saxhorn-2 stands as a testament to the evolution of anti-tank warfare, adapting to the changing demands of modern combat and providing soldiers with the tools needed to engage and defeat advanced armored threats.

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