During the conflict brewing between Ukraine and Russia over the last few months, you've probably heard about Javelin missiles on many occasions. What are they, and why are the Russians afraid of this weapon?
Javelin missiles are light enough to be carried by individuals in the military. They can be shot from the shoulder but are capable of a large amount of destruction. These missiles were developed by the U.S.-based company Lockheed Martin, a long-term defense contractor. One of the main reasons the Javelin is so popular is that it is equipped with an automatic guide system so that the missile will hit its target after it's launched. This lets the gunner find cover without having to worry about a counterattack. Based on the situation in the area, marines or soldiers can reposition themselves after a launch or recharge to deal with other threats that may be in the area. The United States has sent numerous Javelin missiles to Ukraine over the last several months. In fact, we've sent so many that we've used up about 25 percent of our reserves.
When Russia entered Ukraine in February of this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin didn't expect such an uprising. Ukraine is willing to fight and has continued to fight throughout the conflict, partly because of the weapons and ammunition provided to Ukraine by the U.S. and other allies. The Javelin is capable of destroying Russian tanks. There are many models on the market; however, they all have the same base design, with the FGM-148 being the model currently available. A new upgrade, known as the 148G, is on the way.
Some users have even concluded that this weapon, launched by the Ukraine Armed Forces, was deserving of a name: Saint Javelin, Protector of Ukraine.
The missile is ejected by its Command Launch Unit, and it can hit a target approximately 1.5 miles away. The warheads have the capability of exploding on impact, which is the point at which things become dangerous. They can penetrate up to 21 inches of steel. In terms of accuracy, the Javelin is accurate almost every time. Using its Command Launch Unit attachment, the target can be magnified up to four times to improve precision. Also, numerous night sights and other optical devices can be utilized.
The Ukrainians have been enthralled by the Javelin because it helps them keep pace with Russia. This, of course, is the reason why Russians have a venomous resentment toward seeing the Javelin in action. They're losing a lot of good tanks as well as other weapons to these missiles that are held by the Ukrainian infantry. Without the Javelin at play, Russia would have likely already defeated Ukraine and allowed Putin to continue his journey to another unassuming country, such as Poland or Finland.
There's one issue stemming from Ukraine concerning the Javelin and that is that there are not enough of them. There's a reason behind this, too: They're costly and take time to make. Due to certain supply-chain issues that are causing shortages, it's impossible for the Javelin reserves to be replenished. The Javelin reserves are burning up as fast as the Ukrainians are burning through their reserves. Fortunately, Ukraine does have some other anti-armor weapons aiding in the war, too.
As more people become aware of the Javelin’s power, it's expected that Lockheed will be loaded with new orders for a long time.