Antitank guided missiles and changes in tank warfare

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Chuyển đổi dữ liệu09.01.2023
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Antitank guided missile

Countermeasures against antitank guided missiles include spaced, perforated, and composite armors, explosive reactive armor, jammers like the Russian Shtora, and active protection systems like the Israeli Trophy and the Russian Arena.
Armor systems have continued in development alongside antitank guided missiles, and the most recent generations of armor are specifically tested to be effective against antitank guided missile strikes, either by deforming the missile warhead or fusing to prevent proper denotation (such as in slat armor) or using some form of reactive armor to ‘attack’ the missile upon impact, disrupting the shaped charge that makes the warhead effective. Both come with the downside of significant weight and bulk. Reactive armor works best when a vehicle is specifically designed with the system integrated and while developments continue to make armor lighter, any vehicle that includes such a system necessitates a powerful engine and often will still be relatively slow. Inclusion of such armor in older vehicles as a part of a re-design is possible, as in the numerous types derived from the T-72. Slat armor is lighter and as such can be added to many vehicles after construction but still adds both bulk and weight. Particularly for vehicles that are designed to be transported by cargo aircraft, slat armor has to be fitted in the field after deployment. Either approach can never offer complete coverage over the vehicle, leaving tracks or wheels particularly vulnerable to attack.
Jamming is potentially an effective countermeasure to specific missiles that are radar guided, however, as a general purpose defense, it is of no use against unguided anti-tank weapons, and as such it is almost never the only defense. If jamming is used continually, it can be extremely difficult for a missile to acquire the target, locking on to the much larger return from the jammer, with the operator unlikely noticing the difference without a radar screen to see the return. However, any missile that has a backup tracking system can defeat jamming.
Active protection systems show a great deal of promise, both in counteracting antitank guided missiles and unguided weapons. Compared to armor systems, they are very lightweight, can be fitted to almost any vehicle with the internal space for the control system and could, in the future, be a near-perfect defense against any missiles. The weaknesses of the systems include potential developments in missile design such as radar or IR decoys, which would drastically reduce their chance to intercept a missile, as well as technical challenges such as dealing with multiple missiles at once and designing a system that can cover a vehicle from any angle of attack. While these may be answered and allow for lightweight, highly maneuverable vehicles that are strongly defended against missiles and rockets that are extremely well suited for urban and guerrilla warfare. However, such a system is unlikely to be as effective against kinetic energy projectiles, making it a poor choice for fighting against tanks.
Traditionally, before “fire-and-forget” antitank guided missiles were used, the most effective countermeasure was to open fire at the location where the missile was fired from, to either kill the operator or force them to take cover, thus sending the missile off course. Smoke screens can also be deployed from an MBT’s smoke discharger, and used to obscure an antitank guided missile operator’s line of sight. While fire-and-forget missiles have definitive advantages in terms of guidance and operator safety, and include abilities such as top attack mode, older missiles continue in use, both in the front line armies of less developed countries, and in reserve service the world over, due to their lower cost or existing stockpiles of less advanced weapons.

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