Javelin vs T-72 | Why Ukraine Wants More Javelin Missiles?

FGM-148 Javelin is a fire and forget missile capable of guiding itself to the most vulnerable region of a tank.

Tanks are generally considered as a symbol of great firepower in battles. In a war between two parties, the side which presents more tank units on the battlefield is usually seen as the one with the upper hand. After all, tanks really come in huge sizes with destructive blows that would at least intimidate those on the other side. 

Having a tank on your side, however, doesn’t necessarily mean that victory is already secured. Yes, it does provide a huge advantage but just like with all other things in the world, these huge battle tanks also have a breaking point or a weakness.

The battle situation as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine showed many tanks of various models under Russia’s command. Most of these tanks are of the T-72 model, which was originally introduced in 1973, under upgraded models making the T-72B3 and T-72B3M variants, third-generation tanks.

However, around 1,450 Russian tanks were lost in battle with around 900 damaged or destroyed according to a warfare research group. Now the question is: how could such metal giants be defeated in the field? The answer is the FGM-148 Javelin.

The javelin is a portable, antitank device usually operated by a single soldier in the battlefield. This weapon can eject missiles that can be used to target the tanks in either a direct or top trajectory mode. 

The key to the Javelin winning against tanks is by targeting the tank’s weakness. The T-72 tanks have weak armor on top of the turret which can be hit using direct trajectory. On another note, the top trajectory of the Javelin can strike the tin top armor of the tanks. 

Furthermore, the Javelin uses a 5.0” (127 millimeter) shaped charge warhead that could easily damage the top armor of the tank.

To counter the tank's weakness, Russian tanks used SLAT or cage armor to protect the vulnerable parts of the unit from being hit by the Javelin. Nevertheless, the Ukrainian artillery weapon managed to defeat the Russian tanks because the Javelin has a tandem charge warhead that can knock out local ERA stones, so the main warhead can still hit the tank.

This explains how the Ukrainian infantry managed to damage several Russian tank units. It's even said to be the biggest tank slaughter in Europe the second World War II. A US official also stated that half of Russia’s main battle tanks were lost in the battle. 

Being able to damage a large number of huge battle beasts just shows to be the reason why Ukraine wants more javelin missiles and is indeed a good tactic in battle.