War zone: Ukraine's US-made Javelin anti-tank missile vs Russian T-72 beasts

Updated: Feb 09, 2022, 04:26 PM(IST)

The Javelin was first used by the US Army during the Iraq war in 2003 even though it was deployed in 1996. The missiles had reportedly destroyed two T-55 tanks

US rushes Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine

The United States has given the green light for Baltic nations to rush US-made weapons to Ukraine. The exact amounts and types of weapons were not specified but the Baltic nations' arsenals include Javelins -- portable missiles capable of destroying tanks.

US President Joe Biden's administration has approved $650 million in weapons to Ukraine since last year, $200 million of it last month amid fears of war.

Ukraine has voiced hope for military supplies as quickly as possible, with shipments from nearby countries especially valuable. Britain has also rushed anti-tank weapons to Ukraine.

Ukraine said it will be holding military exercise involving Bayraktar strike drones and Javelin anti-tank missiles between February 10 and 20.


'Javelins in Kyiv'

A US plane carrying Javelin anti-tank missiles, launchers and other military hardware landed in Kyiv last month amid escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

Defence minister Oleksii Reznikov tweeted saying: "Javelins in Kyiv! A new cargo of security aid - launchers & missiles - with a total weight of about 80 tons. We expect the arrival of the 4th from the big flock of birds soon."

Ukraine's armed forces are heavily outnumbered and outgunned by Russia's but military experts say they would be capable of mounting significant resistance and inflicting heavy casualties if Russia were to launch a large-scale invasion after massing troops near the border.


Javelin missiles may slow down Russian advance

Ukraine's army is also better trained and equipped than in 2014, when Russia captured the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine without a fight, and is widely seen as highly motivated to defend the country's heartland.

Ukraine also has short-range air defences and anti-tank weaponry, including US-supplied Javelin missiles, which would help to slow any Russian advance.

The United States has provided over $2.5 billion in military aid since 2014, including Javelin anti-tank missiles.


Javelin's automatic infrared guidance system

The US Javelin man-portable anti-tank missile with automatic infrared guidance system is a "fire and forget" weapon. It has an automatic self-guidance system.

The Javelin was first used by the US Army during the Iraq war in 2003 even though it was deployed in 1996. The missiles had reportedly destroyed two T-55 tanks during the Iraq operation. It was also used in combat operations in Afghanistan and Syria.

The Javelin’s high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) warhead can defeat modern tanks by attacking them from above.


T-72B3: Russian beast vs Javelin anti-tank missile

Russia has moved its heavy armour along Ukraine's border in the past few months. It will be conducting live fire drill with the T-72B3 tanks at the Angarsky training ground in the Republic of Crimea.

Reports claim the T-72B3 tanks were used by Russian forces during the Crimean operations in 2014 with some destroyed during the conflict. One tank was also captured.

Russia has reportedly reinforced the protection of the T-72B3 tank in 2017 with explosive reactive armour package. T-72B3M is a newer upgrade of the T-72B tank. It remains to be seen how the Javelin anti-tank missile will perform against the reinforced Russian beast.


Ukraine sends request to US for THAAD

According to Russia's news agency TASS, Ukraine has requested "several battalions" of THAAD anti-ballistic missile defense from the US. Ukraine reportedly wants the missiles to be deployed near Kharkov on Ukrainian territory.

Following Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014, NATO sent an "enhanced forward presence" of multinational battalions to Poland and the Baltics.

Amid the tensions over Ukraine, the Baltic states have called for an increased presence of other NATO troops as a deterrent against Russia. With tensions high in the region, Estonian soldiers could be seen hiding in a forest and preparing an ambush on tanks manoeuvring in a snowy plain nearby.

One of them carried on his shoulder a Javelin anti-tank missile, a weapon Estonia hopes would help hold back any Russian attack while waiting for the alliance to come to its defence.


Kinzhal missile with Mach 4 speed, can reach Mach 10

Reports claim Russia has developed the Kinzhal missile system to likely target European infrastructure and to counter US's THAAD missile threat.

The Kinzhal can reportedly fly at Mach 4 speed (4,900 km/h) and can reach speeds of up to Mach 10 (12,350 km/hr). It is a missile which would be almost impossible to detect by European radars.

The missile had undergone trial in southern Russia in December 2017 as the country's defence ministry said "the hypersonic missile hit the preset target on the test site.”


Iskander nuclear-capable missiles

Russia has also started making combat readiness inspections in its southern military district which borders Ukraine, involving more than 6,000 troops.

The Kremlin earlier said it was watching with great concern after the United States put 8,500 troops on alert to be ready to deploy to Europe in case of an escalation in the Ukraine crisis as war clouds gather over Europe.

In 2018, Russia had deployed nuclear-capable missiles to Kaliningrad. The short-range Iskander missiles have a range 500 km and can carry either conventional or nuclear warheads.


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