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Ukraine Uses French-Donated Milan 2T Anti-Tank Missiles to Target Russian Tanks ERA Armor

Recent images published on the Russian social network VK on September 1, 2023, reveal that the Ukrainian Armed Forces' 32nd separate mechanized brigade uses the French-donated Milan 2T Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) in its military arsenal. This advanced anti-tank missile system, equipped with tandem-shaped charge warheads, is specifically designed to counteract the reactive armor mounted on Russian tanks currently deployed in Ukraine.
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Ukrainian soldiers operate the French-donated Milan-2T Anti-Tank Missiles to target Russian Tanks' ERA Armor. (Picture source Social Network VK)

The MILAN, a joint Franco-West German anti-tank missile system, has been delivered to Ukraine by France. Originating from a design that began in 1962 and was officially inducted into service a decade later in 1972, the MILAN is renowned for its wire-guided semi-automatic command to line of sight (SACLOS) technology. This means the missile's launch unit must be directly aimed at a target for guidance. Additionally, the MILAN is equipped with advanced thermal sights, such as MIRA or MILIS, enabling it to operate during nighttime.

Recent footage suggests that the Ukrainian military has deployed these MILAN missiles to fight Russian armed forces. The delivery of the Milan anti-tank missile system by France took place following the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine and to provide more anti-tank capabilities for the Ukrainian army.

The MILAN was developed in 1962 and officially entered service in 1972. This system is distinguished by its wire-guided semi-automatic command to line of sight (SACLOS) technology, which requires the missile's launch unit to be directly aimed at a target for guidance.

The MILAN anti-tank missile system is composed of three primary components: the launcher, the missile, and a tripod. The system is often mounted on a tripod, providing stability and precision during targeting and launch. The system employs a SACLOS (SemiAutomatic Command to Line Of Sight) command guidance mechanism. This guidance system tracks the missile either by a tail-mounted infrared lamp or an electronic flash lamp, depending on the model. Because the missile is guided by wire from the launcher, it remains immune to interference from radio jamming or flares. However, this wire-guided mechanism also means the missile has a limited range, and the operator remains exposed during the missile's flight. Additionally, the MILAN system can encounter challenges when navigating overland powerlines. Over the years, various versions of the MILAN have been developed, with some newer models designed to counter advanced armor technologies, such as explosive reactive armor.

The MILAN 2T is an advanced version of the MILAN anti-tank guided missile system. The 2T variant marked the introduction of a tandem HEAT warhead in the MILAN system. This tandem warhead was developed specifically to counter the widespread use of Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA) on modern tanks. ERA is a type of armor specifically designed to reduce the effectiveness of anti-tank munitions.

While the provided content does not directly specify the MILAN 2T's capabilities against Russian tanks, the tandem HEAT warhead's design to counter ERA suggests that it would be effective against tanks equipped with this type of armor. Russian tanks, especially modern variants, often employ ERA as part of their defensive measures. Thus, the MILAN 2T would likely be a valuable asset in engagements against such armored vehicles.

Ukraine Uses French Donated Milan 2T Anti Tank Missiles to Target Russian Tanks ERA Armor 925 002
The MILAN anti-tank missile system is composed of three primary components: the launcher, the missile, and a tripod. (Picture source Russian Social Network VK)

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