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Soldiers of Ukraine practice using NLAW anti tank missile able to destroy tank with ERA armor

Defense News February 2022 Global Security army industry

Posted On Friday, 11 February 2022 16:23

According to pictures released by "The Dead District" Twitter account on February 11, 2022, Ukrainian soldiers from the 72nd Separated Mechanized Brigade trains with the NLAW Anti Tank missile received from the British Government.

Ukrainian soldiers practice using the NLAW man-portable anti-tank guided missile weapon. (Picture source Twitter account The Dead District)

In January 2022, the British Government has announced the supply of anti-tank weapons to Ukrainian armed forces in response to the deployment of Russian tanks, armored fighting vehicles, rocket artillery, and short-range ballistic missiles along the border with Ukraine. In January 2022, Army Recognition has reported that the British Royal Air Force have delivered NLAW light anti-armor defensive weapon systems to the Ukrainian Defense Forces, as part of the wider British Government response.

Why is so important for the Ukrainian army to have anti-tank weapons?

First, Russia is the country with the largest number of tanks and armored vehicles in the world. Citing information from the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, Russia will have more than 1,100 main battle tanks, 2,600 APCs (Armored Personnel Carrier) and IFVs (Infantry Fighting Vehicles) and up to 1,100 artillery vehicles including self-propelled howitzers mounted on tracked chassis that can be used to destroy land targets.

According to the conventional military tactics of Russian armed forces, a rapid tempo of advance is assured by assigning tank elements to the first echelon and by using motorized rifle units with the tanks on the main axis. According to videos and pictures published on Internet, Russian armed forces have deployed BMP-2 and BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicles, T-72B3 main battle tanks and BM-27 Uragan 220mm MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket System) along the border with Ukraine.

The NLAW was primarily designed to defeat main battle tanks or armored vehicles in close combat battle and it can be also used to attack defended positions such as bunkers. This type of weapon is also capable to be fired from within buildings in case of warfare in urban areas.

The NLAW missile has a length of 1.02 m and has a weight of 12.5 kg. It is fitted with an armor-piercing warhead that can destroy heavily protected MBTs in a single shot. The effective range of the missile is from 20 to 600 meters or up to 400 meters for moving targets. It has a flight time of less than two seconds out to 400 meters and can be launched at 45°, up or down. The missile can penetrate armor with a thickness ranging from 400 to 650 mm.

The Russian T-72B3 is protected by ERA (Explosive Reactive Armor) but the NLAW can be used to perform overfly top attack which allows the missile to be fired slightly above the tank before landing on the top of the vehicle where it is usually softer. The missile flies about a meter over the top of the tank and launches a devastating attack on the roof. The system is also extremely effective in situations where the operator can only see a tiny portion of the tank.

The armor on the BMP-2 offers the same protection as the BMP-1. The maximum hull armor thickness is 19-mm and that of the turret is 23-mm. The BMP-2 is proof against .50 caliber all around and against 7.62- mm from above.

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