- Wire-guided missile
A wire-guided missile is a
missilethat is guided by signals sent to it via thin wires connected to both the missile and its guidance mechanism, which is located somewhere near the launch site. As the missile flies, the wires are reeled out behind it. This guidance system is most commonly used in anti-tank missiles, where its ability to be used in areas of limited line-of-sight make it useful, while the range limit imposed by the length of the wire is not a serious concern.
The longest range wire-guided missiles in current use are limited to about 2.5 miles. The
Tube-Launched, Optically Tracked, Wire-Guided Missile System(TOW), with a range of 3750 m and the British Swingfiremissile, when vehicle launched, with a range of 4000 meters [http://www.army.mod.uk/equipment/av/av_str.htm] but it would be unlikely to be used at extreme range.
Initial concepts of guided projectiles were used by the soldiers of The Ming Emperor Xuande (1425–1435). These were more akin to rope controlled fireworks, but they were used to devastating effect against the low technology weapons of the opposing forces at the time.
Electrical Wire guidance was first employed by the Germans during
World War II. Most German guided missile projects used radio control, but as the British proved to be able to jam anything they used, rushed projects were started in 1944 in order to develop alternatives. The first system to be modified in this fashion was the Henschel Hs 293B anti-shipping missile. Other examples included the X-4 anti-aircraftmissile, and the X-7 anti-tankversion of the X-4.
In the post-war era it was the X-7 that had the most effect on other military thinkers. By the early 1950s a number of experimental systems had been developed (see, e.g.
Malkara missile), leading to their widespread deployment in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Large numbers of Israelitanks were destroyed using wire guided AT-3 Saggermissiles during the Yom Kippur Warof 1973. Wire guidance has remained the main system for most smaller weapons, although newer systems such as laser beam ridinghave come into use in anti-aircraft and some anti-tank use roles (e.g. the US Hellfire missileand the Russian AT-14 Kornet).
Torpedoescan also be wire guided, such as U.S. Mk 48 Advanced Capability (ADCAP) torpedo, or the Swedish Torpedo MK2000, which is guided by a thin copper wire encased in a high-resistance plastic polymer.
This is a timeline of notable early wire-guided missiles.
X-4 missilein production in Germany.
SS.10enters service with the French army.
ENTACenters service with the French army.
Malkara missileenters service with the British and Australian armies.
* 1960 AT-1 Snapper / 3M6 Shmel enters service in the Soviet Union.
* 1963 AT-3 Sagger / 9M14 Malyutka enters service in the Soviet Union.
* 1968 Blowpipe surface to air missile enters service.
BGM-71 TOWenters service with the US Army.
MILANis accepted for service with the French Army.
* 1976 AT-6 Spiral / 9K113 Shturm is accepted for service in the Soviet Union.
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