The Serbian-produced 9M142T missile
|Place of origin||Soviet Union|
|Used by||Soviet Union and others|
|Wars||Yom Kippur War
Western Sahara War
Iraq Iran War
Croatian war of independence
2006 Lebanon War
First Chechen War
Second Chechen War (By Chechen militants)
|Designer||Design Bureau of Machine-Building (KBM, Kolomna)|
|Variants||9M14M, 9M14P1, Malyutka-2, Malyutka-2F|
|Weight||10.9 kg (9M14M)
11.4 kg (9M14P1)
12.5 kg (Malyutka-2)
~12 kg (Malyutka-2F)
1005 mm combat ready (Malyutka-2)
|Width||393 mm (wingspan)|
|Effective range||500-3000 m|
|Warhead weight||2.6 kg (9M14M, 9M14P1)
3.5 kg (Malyutka-2, Malyutka-2F)
|Speed||115 m/s (9M14M, 9M14P1)
130 m/s (Malyutka-2, Malyutka-2F)
|MCLOS, SACLOS (Later variants)|
The 9K11 Malyutka (Russian: Малютка; little one, NATO reporting name: AT-3 Sagger) is a Manual Command to Line-of-Sight (MCLOS) wire-guided anti-tank guided missile 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 five countries.
Development began in July 1961 with the government assigning the project to two design teams: Tula and Kolomna. The requirements were:
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 AT-1 Snapper, 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 5 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 profound 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 the missile 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 somewhere between 500 m and 800 m. For targets under 1000 m, the operator can guide the missile by eye; for targets beyond this range the operator uses the 8x power, 22.5 degree field of view 9Sh16 periscope sight.
The engagement envelope is a 3 km, 45 degree arc centered on the missiles launch axis. At ranges under 1.5 km this arc reduces, until at 500 m range the missile can only hit targets 50 m either side of the center line. It should be noted that 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 90% to 60%, experience has shown that it can drop to an efficiency between 25% and 2% 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: according to some sources, it takes 2,300 simulated firings to become proficient with the missile as well as 50 to 60 simulated firings a week to maintain the skill level. Nevertheless, that weapon has always been quite popular between its own operators and has enjoyed a constant updating effort both in Soviet Union/Russia and in other countries.
The two most serious defects of the original weapon system were its minimum range of between 500 m and 800 m (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/dune, 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, as well as upgrading the propulsion system to increase the average flight speed. Latest updates sport tandem warheads and/or probes in order to counter act ERA as well as thermal imaging systems. Still in these latest versions Maljutkas are probably the most inexpensive ATGM in service with unitary price caps in the order of the hundreds of dollars instead of the tens of thousands of the latest third generation models.
In Soviet service the man-portable version was deployed as part of the anti-tank platoon of motor rifle battalions. Each platoon has two Malyutka sections, each with two teams. Each team has two launcher stations. One assistant gunner in each team serves as an RPG-7 gunner. The RPG-7 is needed to cover the 500 meter deadzone created by the minimum range of the missile. It is also an integrated part of the BMP-1, BMD-1, and BRDM-2 vehicles.
On 23 April 1972, the recently organized ARVN (Army of the Republic of Vietnam) 20th Tank Regiment was attacked by the NVA (North Vietnamese Army) employing the 9M14M Malyutka anti-tank guided missile for the first time. The 20th was the only South Vietnamese armor unit equipped with the M48 Patton tank. This first employment of the Malyutka destroyed one M48A3 and one M113 Armored Cavalry Assault Vehicle (ACAV), and a second ACAV was damaged.
During this engagement with the weapon, the ARVN tankers appeared fascinated by the missile's slow and erratic flight, but through experience, they soon deployed counter measures against the weapon system. Upon launching by the enemy, ARVN crewmen would fire all weapons towards the Sagger'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 fifteen 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.
The missile was successfully 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 Sagger threat by employing large concentrations of artillery fire to either distract or kill the Sagger operators. Other improvised methods used by the Israelis to defeat the Saggers involved firing in front of the tank to create dust, moving back and forth and firing at the source of Sagger fire These Israeli tactics were later adopted by NATO forces to counter the threat posed by Warsaw Pact ATGMs
In the 1979 Sino-Vietnamese border conflict at least one PLA tank was destroyed by a Vietnamese anti-tank missile. It is most likely that the Malyutka system was used. The explosion of the missile's warhead triggered a secondary explosion of onboard ammunition, which totally destroyed the tank with the loss of all crew.
In the 1980s, there was at least one incident of Vietnamese forces firing Malyutkas at Chinese positions. At one point a PLA soldier was killed after pushing his platoon commander away. Records from this case indicate that one could certainly hear the approaching Malyutka and take evasive actions.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: 9K11 Malyutka|
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