The 9M14 Malyutka (Russian: Малютка; "Little one", NATO reporting name: AT-3 Sagger) is a manual command to line of sight (MCLOS) wire-guidedanti-tank guided missile (ATGM) system developed in the Soviet Union. It was the first man-portable anti-tank guided missile of the Soviet Union and is probably the most widely produced ATGM of all time—with Soviet production peaking at 25,000 missiles a year during the 1960s and 1970s. In addition, copies of the missile have been manufactured under various names by at least six countries.
Although they have been supplanted by more advanced anti-tank guided missiles, the Malyutka and its variants have seen widespread use in nearly every regional conflict since the 1960s.
Development began in July 1961 with the government assigning the project to two design teams: Tula and Kolomna. The requirements were:
Vehicle mountable and/or man portable
Range of 3,000 meters
Armor penetration of 200 millimetres at 60°
Maximum weight of 10 kilograms
The designs were based on the Western ATGMs of the 1950s, such as the French ENTAC and the Swiss Cobra. In the end, the prototype developed by the Kolomna Machine Design Bureau, who were also responsible for the 3M6 Shmel, was chosen. Initial tests were completed by 20 December 1962, and the missile was accepted for service on 16 September 1963.
The missile can be fired from a portable suitcase launcher (9P111), ground vehicles (BMP-1, BRDM-2) and helicopters (Mi-2, Mi-8, Mi-24, Soko Gazelle). The missile takes about five minutes to deploy from its 9P111 fibreglass suitcase, which also serves as the launching platform.
The missile is guided to the target by means of a small joystick (9S415), which requires intensive training of the operator. The operator's adjustments are transmitted to the missile via a thin three-strand wire that trails behind the missile. The missile climbs into the air immediately after launch, which prevents it from hitting obstacles or the ground. In flight, the missile spins at 8.5 revolutions per second—it is initially spun by its booster, and the spin is maintained by the slight angle of the wings. The missile uses a small gyroscope to orient itself relative to the ground; as a result, the missile can take some time to bring back in line with the target, which gives it a minimum range of between 500 and 800 metres (550 and 870 yd). For targets under 1,000 m, the operator can guide the missile by eye; for targets beyond this range the operator uses the eight-power, 22.5-degree field of view, 9Sh16 periscope sight.
The engagement envelope is a 3 kilometres (1.9 mi), 45-degree arc centered on the missile's launch axis. At ranges under 1.5 kilometres (0.93 mi), this arc reduces until, at the 500 metres (550 yd) range, the missile can only hit targets 50 metres (55 yd) either side of the center line. Accuracy falls off away from the launch axis—falling to approximately half its optimal accuracy at the extremes.
While early estimates of the missile hitting the target ranged from 60 to 90%, experience has shown that it can drop to an efficiency between 2 and 25% in case of less than optimal conditions and lack of skill from the operator. In fact, MCLOS requires considerable skill on the part of the operator, nevertheless, the weapon has always been quite popular with its operators and has enjoyed a constant updating effort both in the Soviet Union/Russia and in other countries.
The two most serious defects of the original weapon are its minimum range of between 500 and 800 metres (550 and 870 yd) (targets that are closer cannot be effectively engaged) and the amount of time it takes the slow moving missile to reach maximum range—around 30 seconds—giving the intended target time to take appropriate action, either by retreating behind an obstacle, laying down a smoke-screen, or by returning fire on the operator.
Later versions of the missile addressed these problems by implementing the much easier to use SACLOS guidance system (though only available for ground vehicle and helicopter mounts), as well as upgrading the propulsion system to increase the average flight speed. The latest updates feature tandem-charge warheads or standoff probes to counteract explosive reactive armor, as well as thermal imaging systems. Even in these latest versions, the Malyutka is probably the most inexpensive ATGM in service today, with a unit cost far less than that of more advanced systems.
The turret of a BMP-1 with a 9M14M missile
In Soviet service, the man-portable version was deployed as part of the anti-tank platoon of motor rifle battalions. Each platoon had two Malyutka sections, each with two teams. Each team had two launcher stations. One assistant gunner in each team served as an RPG-7 gunner. The RPG-7 was needed to cover the 500 meter deadzone created by the minimum range of the missile.
During this engagement with the weapon, the ARVN tankers appeared fascinated by the missile's slow and erratic flight,: 210–11 but through experience, they soon deployed countermeasures against the weapon system. Upon launching by the enemy, ARVN crewmen would fire all their weapons towards the missile's firing position, which would make the gunner flinch and lose control of his missile. Although the gunner could take cover away from the launch site, the joystick control wire only allowed 15 meters of clearance. During the engagement, the ARVN eventually lost eight tanks to the 9M14M missile, but had developed tactics to defend themselves against it.
During the Battle of Kontum (1972), 33 missiles were fired and 32 hit, destroying four tanks, two howitzers, six bunkers and seven other targets.
During the Battle of Cửa Việt (1973), the PAVN put up fierce resistance to the attack, destroying 26 M48s and M113s with 9M14 missiles.: 129–31
Throughout the war, PAVN gunner Dao Van Tien fired 134 missiles and 130 hit, destroying 23 tanks and APCs, 12 howitzers, 27 bunkers and 17 other targets.
Yom Kippur WarEdit
The missile was employed by Arab armies during the initial phases of the Yom Kippur War. Later in the war, the Israelis adopted new tactics and learned to neutralize the threat by employing large concentrations of artillery fire to either distract or kill the missile operators. Other improvised methods used by the Israelis to defeat the Malyutkas involved firing in front of the tank to create dust, moving back and forth and firing at the source of the missile. These Israeli tactics were later adopted by NATO forces to counter the threat posed by Warsaw PactATGMs. In total, Malyutkas knocked out more than 800 Israeli tanks and other combat vehicles during the war.
Syrian rebels have also uploaded videos of themselves firing Malyutkas against government forces since late 2012.
A Serbian Malyutka 2T5
A 9S415 control box for the Malyutka missile.
9M14Malyutka (NATO reporting name AT-3 Sagger) wire-guidedMCLOS, entered service in 1963.
9M14PMalyutka-P (NATO reporting name AT-3C Sagger C) wire-guidedSACLOS, entered service in 1969. Improved warhead (460 mm versus RHA)
9M14P1 Improved warhead (520 mm versus RHA), and a stand off probe for improved capability against ERA.
9M14MMalyutka-M (NATO reporting name AT-3B Sagger B) wire-guidedMCLOS, entered service in 1973. Improved motor, reducing flight time to maximum range. Mass 11 kg. Range 3 km.
9M14-2Malyutka-2 (NATO reporting name AT-3D Sagger D) wire-guidedSACLOS, entered service in 1992. Speed improved to 130 m/s. 3.5 kg HEAT warhead (800 mm penetration versus RHA). Weight 12.5 kg. Range 3 km.
9M14-2MMalyutka-2M 4.2 kg tandem HEAT warhead for improved capability against ERA. Weight 13.5 kg. Speed 120 m/s.
9M14-2FMalyutka-2F 3.0 kg thermobaric warhead. Intended for use against troops and soft vehicles.
9M14-2T Serbian VTI Malyutka-2T SACLOS. 4.4 kg tandem HEAT warhead (1,000 mm penetration versus RHA), improved capability against ERA. Weight 13.7 kg. Speed 120 m/s.
2T5 Serbian VTI Malyutka-2T5 range 5 kilometers, guided missile via radio control. Speed 200 m/s.
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