A top attack weapon is designed to attack armoured vehicles from above as a form of plunging fire, as the armour is usually thinnest at the top. Ideally, it will penetrate perpendicular to the attacked surface. The device may be delivered (often as a submunition) by a missile, mortar or artillery shell, ATGM, or even an emplaced munition. Top attack munitions use either a high explosive anti-tank (HEAT) warhead for direct impact or near impact, or an explosively formed penetrator (EFP) warhead for over-flight of the target.
The top attack concept is fairly new and was first put into service by the Swedish in 1988with the Bofors RBS 56 BILL top-attack anti-tank missile.
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In modern language, a missile, also known as a guided missile, is a guided airborne ranged weapon capable of self-propelled flight usually by a jet engine or rocket motor. Missiles have four system components: targeting/guidance system, flight system, engine and warhead. Missiles come in types adapted for different purposes: surface-to-surface and air-to-surface missiles, surface-to-air missiles, air-to-air missiles, and anti-satellite weapons.
A rocket-propelled grenade is a shoulder-fired missile weapon that launches rockets equipped with an explosive warhead. Most RPGs can be carried by an individual soldier, and are frequently used as anti-tank weapons. These warheads are affixed to a rocket motor which propels the RPG towards the target and they are stabilized in flight with fins. Some types of RPG are reloadable with new rocket-propelled grenades, while others are single-use. RPGs are generally loaded from the front.
An anti-tank guided missile (ATGM), anti-tank missile, anti-tank guided weapon (ATGW) or anti-armor guided weapon is a guided missile primarily designed to hit and destroy heavily armored military vehicles.
A high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) warhead is a type of shaped charge explosive that uses the Munroe effect to penetrate thick tank armor. The warhead functions by having the explosive charge collapse a metal liner inside the warhead into a high-velocity superplastic jet. This superplastic jet is capable of penetrating armor steel to a depth of seven or more times the diameter of the charge but is usually used to immobilize or destroy tanks. Due to the way they work, they do not have to be fired as fast as an armor piercing shell, allowing less recoil. Contrary to a widespread misconception, the jet does not melt its way through armor, as its effect is purely kinetic in nature. The HEAT warhead has become less effective against tanks and other armored vehicles due to the use of composite armor, explosive-reactive armor, and active protection systems which destroy the HEAT warhead before it hits the tank. While HEAT ammunition has become less effective against the composite armor found on MBTs from 1964 onward and today pose little threat to any modern tank, they are still deadly against lighter vehicles. In addition, air vehicles are also possible targets.
Anti-tank warfare originated from the need to develop technology and tactics to destroy tanks during World War I (1914–1918). Since the Triple Entente developed the first tanks in 1916 but did not deploy them in battle until 1917, the German Empire developed the first anti-tank weapons. The first developed anti-tank weapon was a scaled-up bolt-action rifle, the Mauser 1918 T-Gewehr, that fired a 13mm cartridge with a solid bullet that could penetrate the thin armor of tanks of the time and destroy the engine or ricochet inside, killing occupants. Because tanks represent an enemy's greatest force projection on land, military strategists have incorporated anti-tank warfare into the doctrine of nearly every combat service since. The most predominant anti-tank weapons at the start of World War II in 1939 included the tank-mounted gun, anti-tank guns and anti-tank grenades used by the infantry, as well as ground-attack aircraft.
The CRV7, short for "Canadian Rocket Vehicle 7", is a 2.75-inch (70 mm) folding-fin ground attack rocket produced by Bristol Aerospace in Winnipeg, Manitoba. It was introduced in the early 1970s as an upgraded version of the standard U.S. 2.75-inch air-to-ground rockets. It was the most powerful weapon of its class, the first with enough energy to penetrate standard Warsaw Pact aircraft hangars. The CRV7 remains one of the most powerful air-to-ground attack rockets to this day, and has slowly become the de facto standard for Western-aligned forces outside the United States.
The 9M113 Konkurs is a Soviet SACLOS wire-guided anti-tank missile.
An active protection system is a system designed to prevent line-of-sight guided anti-tank missiles/projectiles from acquiring and/or destroying a target.
The Rheinmetall Rh-120 is a 120 mm smoothbore tank gun designed and produced by the West German Rheinmetall-DeTec AG company, developed in response to Soviet advances in armor technology and development of new armored threats. Production began in 1974, with the first version of the gun, known as the L/44 as it was 44 calibers long, used on the German Leopard 2 tank and soon produced under license for the American M1A1 Abrams and other tanks. The 120-millimeter (4.7 in) gun has a length of 5.28 meters (17.3 ft), and the gun system weighs approximately 3,317 kilograms (7,313 lb).
The 9M119 Svir, 9M119M Refleks and AT-11 Sniper by NATO are laser beam riding, guided anti-tank missiles developed in the former Soviet Union. The two missiles are similar, but vary in range and launch platform. Both are designed to be fired from smooth bore 125 mm tank and anti-tank guns. Their NATO reporting name is AT-11Sniper. The name Svir comes from the River Svir, while Refleks means reflex. The 9M119 replaces, or supplants, the 9K112 Kobra.
The FGM-172 SRAW, also known as the Predator SRAW, was a lightweight, close range missile system produced by Lockheed Martin, developed by Lockheed Martin and Israel Military Industries. It was designed to complement the Javelin anti-tank missile. The Predator had a longer range and was more powerful than the AT4 that it was designed to replace, but had a shorter range than the Javelin.
An explosively formed penetrator (EFP), also known as an explosively formed projectile, a self-forging warhead, or a self-forging fragment, is a special type of shaped charge designed to penetrate armor effectively. As the name suggests, the effect of the explosive charge is to deform a metal plate into a slug or rod shape and accelerate it toward a target. They were first developed as oil well perforators by American oil companies in the 1930s, and were deployed as weapons in World War II.
The RBS 56B BILL 2 Anti-Tank Guided Weapon is a man-portable or vehicle-mounted guided anti-tank missile using the overfly top attack method to attack the weaker parts of an armoured vehicle.
An anti-submarine missile is a standoff anti-submarine weapon. Often a variant of anti-ship missile designs an anti-submarine systems typically use a jet or rocket engine, to deliver: an explosive warhead aimed directly at a submarine; a depth charge, or; a homing torpedo that is carried from a launch ship, or other platform, to the vicinity of a target.
The Korean Smart Top-Attack Munition (KSTAM) is a smart munition intended to be launched from the gun of a main battle tank, namely the South Korean K2 Black Panther. Comparable systems include Diehl Corporation's Spear and SMArt 155, Israeli Aerospace Industries LAHAT, Israeli Military Industries Excalibur, GIAT Industries Polynege, Alliant Techsystems STAFF and MRM-KE, Raytheon's MRM-CE, and the two final companies' TERM.
The RBS 56 BILL is a Swedish manportable SACLOS wire-guided anti-tank missile developed by AB Bofors. Development began in 1979 and entered production in 1985. BILL stands for. By 1996 15,000 missiles had been produced and supplied to the Swedish and Austrian armies. Between 1996 and 1997 Brazil received a number of missiles. In the late 1990s production shifted to the RBS 56B BILL 2. The Swedish army received the first deliveries of the BILL 2 in 1999.
A precision-guided munition is a guided munition intended to precisely hit a specific target, to minimize collateral damage and increase lethality against intended targets. During the First Gulf War guided munitions accounted for only 9% of weapons fired, but accounted for 75% of all successful hits. Despite guided weapons generally being used on more difficult targets, they were still 35 times more likely to destroy their targets per weapon dropped.
A loitering munition is a weapon system category in which the munition loiters around the target area for some time, searches for targets, and attacks once a target is located. Loitering munitions enable faster reaction times against concealed or hidden targets that emerge for short periods without placing high-value platforms close to the target area, and also allow more selective targeting as the actual attack mission can be aborted.
The LIG Nex1 AT-1K Raybolt is a South Korean man-portable third-generation anti-tank guided missile built by LIG Nex1. It has fire-and-forget capability using an infrared imaging seeker and has a tandem-warhead to defeat explosive reactive armor. The Raybolt has a top attack and direct attack modes. It is the first ATGM to be built by South Korea and entered mass production in June 2017.