U.S.-Made Javelin Missiles Rack Up Russian Tank Kills in Ukraine

U.S.-Made Javelin Missiles Rack Up Russian Tank Kills in Ukraine. By John Hayward.

Ukrainian forces are reporting success in using American-made Javelin anti-tank missiles against invading Russian armor. British NLAW weapons are also reportedly performing well against Russian tanks. … Military analysts regard the Javelin as the premier anti-tank weapon in the world …

Ukraine received a shipment of Javelins as recently as late January, as part of the latest $200 million security package offered by the United States. On Friday, Estonia announced it would send some of its Javelin inventory to Ukraine, along with food, medical equipment, and protective gear.

At around the same time, the British government hurriedly shipped almost 200 units of its RB-57 Next Generation Light Antitank Weapon (NLAW) to Ukraine, adding to almost 2,000 previously delivered. The U.K. also sent paratroopers to train the Ukrainians in effective use of the NLAW. …

The NLAW has considerably shorter range than the Javelin, but has the advantage of much lower production costs. Some analysts believe the NLAW will become the more popular of the two platforms in the future as drones take over the longer-range targeting functions of the Javelin.

The Ukrainian military claimed on Thursday to have wiped out an entire column of fifteen Russian T-72 tanks using Javelins. The American-made weapons appear to be a good fit for engagements in the open plains and long roads of eastern Ukraine. …

U.K. Armed Forces Minister James Heappey .. said the U.K. is “aware of the number of circumstances” in which NLAWs “have been used to defeat Russian armor.” He said this was a significant factor in the Russian invasion proceeding more slowly than its planners expected.

If the tanks are mostly confined to traveling predictably along roads, to stay out of the mud, then they become easy targets for missiles with a range of several kilometers.