Javelin (surface-to-air missile)


Javelin surface to air missile launcher.JPEG
British soldier posing with Javelin triple launcher (1996)
TypeManportable surface-to-air missile
Place of originUnited Kingdom
Service history
Used bySee Operators
Production history
ManufacturerThales Air Defence
Mass11.1 kilograms (24 lb) (missile)
24.3 kilograms (54 lb) (system)
Length1.39 metres (4 ft 7 in)
Diameter76 millimetres (3 in)

Effective firing range300 to 4,500 metres (980 to 14,760 ft) against jets to 5,500 metres (18,000 ft) against helicopters
WarheadHigh-explosive warhead
Warhead weight2.74 kilograms (6.0 lb) (containing 0.6 kilograms (1.3 lb) of HE) with contact and proximity fuzes
Impact force or proximity fuze

EngineSolid fuel rocket
Maximum speed Mach 1.7+ approx.
SACLOS system

Javelin is a British man-portable surface-to-air missile, formerly used by the British Army and Canadian Army. It can be fired from the shoulder, or from a dedicated launcher known as Javelin LML: Lightweight Multiple Launcher. Capable of being vehicle mounted, the LML carries three rounds.

It first entered British service in 1984 and was later replaced in front line service by the Javelin S-15, sold commercially as the Starburst surface-to-air missile in 1993 (radio frequency guided Javelin was retained for some time thereafter for training purposes), and later by the Starstreak starting around 1997.[1] The Javelin GL was hastily purchased by the Canadian Forces to replace the existing Blowpipe surface-to-air missile system that failed last-minute tests during preparations for the deployment to the Gulf. It was later replaced by the Javelin S15 until retired without replacement in 2005.


The missile was developed as a replacement for the Blowpipe MANPADS, which had proven largely ineffective in the Falklands War although it was used by both sides. Only two hits were recorded out of more than 100 launches: a British Harrier GR3 (XZ972) attacked by Argentine Army special forces (Commandos Company), and an Argentine Aermacchi MB-339 (0766 (4-A-114)) during the Battle of Goose Green.[2]

Operational use

Similar in overall appearance to the Manual Command Line of Sight (MCLOS), radio frequency guided Blowpipe, Javelin is slightly more compact, uses Semiautomatic Command Line of Sight (SACLOS) radio frequency guidance and is fitted with an improved warhead. The operator is equipped with a 6× magnification sight and a long range T.V. camera to locate targets. Although the Javelin's accuracy is somewhat susceptible to smoke, fog, or clouds, it is claimed to be virtually impossible to decoy it away from a target with flares.


Map with Javelin operators in blue

Current operators

 South Korea

Previous operators

 United Kingdom

See also


  1. ^ "Thales Javelin". Military Factory. MilitaryFactory.com. Retrieved 25 May 2021.
  2. ^ Freedman, Sir Lawrence, The Official History of the Falklands Campaign (Abingdon, 2005). Volume II, pp. 732–735
  3. ^ MOTLOGELWA, TSHIRELETSO. "Khamas monopolised Botswana Defence Force (BDF) tenders". X air Forces.
  • Jane's Land-Based Air Defence 2005–2006, ISBN 0-7106-2697-5
  • "Javelin".
  • "Javelin Surface-to-Air Missile".