Shoulder-launched missile weapon


Shoulder-launched missile weapon

A shoulder-launched missile weapon is a weapon that fires a projectile at a target, yet is small enough to be carried by a single person, and fired while held on one's shoulder. "Missile" is used here in the original broad sense: today the word has a strong connotation with the concept of a guided rocket. There are two kinds of shoulder launched weapons. The first is the recoilless gun, which is essentially an open tube. When fired the reaction gases (with a momentum equal to the projectile) expelled out of the back of the weapon compensate the force exerted on the projectile. The other type uses rocket propelled projectiles; these typically also use a small recoilless charge to get the projectile out of the barrel and to a distance where the operator will not be hurt by the rocket's backblast; when the rocket ignites at a safe distance, it further accelerates the projectile or at least keeps it from decelerating in its trajectory.

The smallest shoulder-launched rocket weapons are rocket-propelled grenades (RPG). There are also larger "dumb" shoulder-launched missiles, used in a similar way to an RPG, but with far greater destructive power. A number of specialised "smart" missiles are available in shoulder-launched forms, including (anti-tank guided missile) and man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADs), surface-to-air missiles used as anti-aircraft, typically using infrared homing and used to target helicopters and other low-flying aircraft.

Examples include:
* Carl Gustav recoilless rifle
* Panzerfaust 3
* M-160 Rocket Launcher
* Shoulder-launched Multipurpose Assault Weapon (SMAW)
* M72 LAW
* RPG-7, RPG-26 and RPG-29
* FIM-92 Stinger
* SA-7, SA-14 and Igla
* Anza
* FIM-43 Redeye Anti-aircraft Missile
* AT4
* LRAC F1
* C90-CR (M3)
* C-100
* GROM
* RPG-76 Komar

History

Rocket-based weapons have a long history, from the black powder fire arrows used by the ancient Chinese to the Congreve rocket referenced in the "The Star-Spangled Banner," the national anthem of the United States. They have always been prized for the portability of their launch systems.

Shoulder-launched rockets have a launch tube. In order to prevent the user from being burned by the exhaust, the rocket (or at least its first stage) must burn out before it leaves the tube, and if present the second stage must fire once the rocket is well clear of the launcher. Even if the operator is safe, there is a sizeable blast effect to their rear.

Also, the rocket must have a reliable ignition system. In modern systems, this is almost always a percussion cap. This system was not fully developed until the German Panzerfaust of World War II, an early one-shot design that however also was the first practical recoilless antitank-gun and thus used no rocket. The bazooka and Panzerschreck were later rocket-propelled developments which could be reloaded.

Usage

From their first inception during the Second World War, many portable missiles have been used to give infantry a weapon effective against armored vehicles and fortified structures. The power of the shaped charge meant that the effectiveness of the weapon was not limited by a gun barrel bore nor size of weapon as for example a conventional armor piercing shell from an artillery piece. As such these manportable weapons could be used to equip infantry units with their own anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons.

Shoulder-launched rockets or recoilless guns are a favored anti-technical weapon. They permit otherwise lightly or poorly armed troops (eg militias) to destroy modern sophisticated equipment such as close air-support aircraft, helicopters, and lightly armored vehicles.

Attacks come from ambush for the element of surprise and attempt to immobilize a convoy of vehicles, then destroy its defenders, then destroy its contents, then escape before air or artillery support can arrive.

Normally, the militia will plan to have two to four shooters per attacked vehicle. Reliable attack ranges are 50 to 100 m, although attacks can succeed out to 300 m. Self destruct ranges of common rocket weapons such as RPG-7s are about 900 m.

The usual response to such attacks is to suppress the shooters, with saturation anti-personnel fire, artillery or aerial barrages in area-denial attacks. Submunition and thermobaric weapons are often used to clear landing zones (LZ) for helicopters.

In modern anti-insurgent operations in misty, dusty or night-time situations, advanced optics, such as infrared telescopes, permit helicopter gunships to surveil convoys from beyond human-visible range, and still attack insurgents with inexpensive anti-personnel fire. This approach is more economical than area-denial. Protecting as little as 20% of the convoys rapidly depletes an area of active insurgents.

ee also

* Anti-tank guided missile (ATGM)
* Surface-to-air missile (SAM)
* List of missiles
* List of rocket launchers


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Missile — For other uses, see Missile (disambiguation). A V 2 missile launch by the British during Operation Backfire. Though a missile may be any thrown or launched object, it colloquially almost always refers to a self propelled guided weapon system.… …   Wikipedia

  • missile — I (New American Roget s College Thesaurus) n. projectile, trajectile; guided missile. See arms. II (Roget s IV) n. Syn. cartridge, projectile, ammunition, rocket, guided missile; see also bullet , shot 2 , weapon 1 . Types of missiles include:… …   English dictionary for students

  • missile — noun 1 explosive weapon ADJECTIVE ▪ long range, medium range, short range ▪ ballistic, cruise, guided, heat seeking, laser guided ▪ …   Collocations dictionary

  • Infantry support weapon — An infantry support weapon is a weapon system that requires a crew of more than one individuals to operate at optimum efficiency due to its operational complexity such as requiring one person to load while another fires. However, infantry support …   Wikipedia

  • Javelin Medium Antiarmor Weapon System — Allgemeine Informationen Militärische Bezeichnung Javelin Medium Antiarmor Weapon System Entwicklungsland …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Crew-served weapon — A crew served weapon is any weapon system that requires a crew of more than one individual to function at optimum efficiency due to its operational complexity, such as requiring one person to load while another fires. The weight and bulk of the… …   Wikipedia

  • rocket and missile system — ▪ weapons system Introduction       any of a variety of weapons systems that deliver explosive warheads to their targets by means of rocket propulsion.       Rocket is a general term used broadly to describe a variety of jet propelled missiles… …   Universalium

  • Starstreak missile — Disambiguation: Starstreak redirects here. For the Marvel comics superheroine named Starstreak see Julie Power. Infobox Weapon name= Starstreak caption= Starstreak missile on display at the Africa Aerospace Defence exposition, September 2006… …   Wikipedia

  • Starstreak (missile) — Starstreak redirects here. For the Marvel comics superheroine named Starstreak, see Julie Power. Starstreak Starstreak missile on display at the Africa Aerospace Defence exposition, September 2006 …   Wikipedia

  • Anti-tank guided missile — An anti tank guided missile (ATGM) or anti tank guided weapon (ATGW) is a guided missile primarily designed to hit and destroy heavily armored tanks and other armored fighting vehicles. ATGMs range in size from shoulder launched weapons which can …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.