Anti-Tank Weapons of The War in Ukraine

    Anti-Tank Weapons of The War in Ukraine

    A display of Western weapons for President Zelensky including Lithuanian Stinger, US SMAW-D and Javelin and British NLAW (Ukrainian Government)

    We’re now two weeks into the conflict in Ukraine and there has been a steady stream of footage from the frontlines. We’ve seen a lot of knocked-out Russian vehicles and this is due to a large variety of infantry anti-tank weapons which have been used by the Ukrainian forces. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the weapons which have been seen in the field (as of 8 March).

    Russian-Designed Anti-Tank Weapons:

    As you would expect we’ve seen a lot of the ubiquitous RPG-7 with a range of rounds. In this video of a KORD unit firing on Russian Armour we can see RPG-7s firing PG-7VM HEAT rounds.

    Urban fighting with hit and run RPG-7 attacks:

    Members of the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Force destroying a Russian truck with a PG-7VM/S round:

    A considerable number of single-use Russian-designed launchers are seen too including RPG-22s and RPG-26s. Both these launchers can be seen in this footage:

    In the footage below we see men, said to be Ukrainian Special Forces, using RPG-26s:

    A trunk-full of RPG-22s and RPG-26s:

    The Ukrainian Special Forces appear to be well equipped with anti-armour weapons with RPG-7s, RPG-22s and RVP-16s – a thermobaric rocket launcher, which Ukraine is known to have in production.

    Anti-Tank Weapons of The War in Ukraine

    Reported to be Ukrainian special operations forces kit, included an NLAW, RPV-16, RPG-22, RPG-7

    Heavier weapons have also been seen including a Russian 9K111-1 Konkurs anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) system:

    And the targeting screen of the Ukrainian-developed Stugna-P 130mm ATGM has been seen in a number of videos:

    An interesting footnote to this is the American-made RPG-7 clone. The AirTronic Precision Shoulder-fired Rocket Launcher (PSRL) is a modernised version of the classic launcher. Ukraine began purchasing them in 2017. We got our first look at one in country in a Russia Today (RT) report on weapons captured following the battle for the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant.

    You can read more about the PSRL here.

    Western Anti-Tank Weapons:

    The transfer of Western anti-armour weapons started before the war even began. The United States transferred significant shipments of Javelin anti-tank guided missiles and M141 Bunker Defeat Munitions (BDM), also known as SMAW Disposable (SMAW-D), while the UK sent some 2,000 Next Generation Light Anti-Tank Weapons (NLAWs). Once the war began, the range of Western anti-armour systems which have been transferred expanded rapidly!

    Javelin and NLAW have already entered the wider popular consciousness and become deeply associated with the conflict already. This is, in part, because the Ukrainian public had been introduced to them as force multipliers before the war began. Below is a Ukrainian government PR photo of President Zelensky examining some newly arrived British NLAWs back in February.

    Anti-Tank Weapons of The War in Ukraine

    President Zelensky looking at NLAWs (Ukrainian Government)

    Footage of NLAWs in the field and engaging the enemy have been shared in recent days, below is a video of a pair of Ukrainian soldiers posing with an NLAW each. The NLAW is a single-shot, shoulder-fired weapon which while unguided, has a fire control unit that allows the weapon to predict where the target will be when the missile reaches it, it also had a top-attack mode to target weaker top armor.

    In the last few days we’ve seen some spectacular footage of the NLAW being used in the field with Ukrainian soldiers firing one down from a building, almost clipping a ledge once the missile was launched:

    US Javelin and British NLAW (Ukrainian Armed Forces)

    We haven’t yet seen any footage or photos of Javelin in use in Ukraine but sources it is being used very effectively. There have been a number of photos of the Ukrainian Army and National Guard being training on how to use Javelin with ad hoc training sessions photographed, like the one below:

    Ukrainian National Guard training on Javelin (Ukrainian Armed Forces)

    The rest of the weapons sent by the west are predominantly unguided. Some of the weapons which have been confirmed on the ground include a variety of models of M72 LAW, AT4 and Spanish C-90 (M3.5) rocket launchers.

    A still from a video showing a Ukrainian soldier posing with a Spanish Instalaza C90-CR-AM (M3.5) dual-purpose (via War_Noir)

    On 27 February, Sweden also announced the transfer of some 5,000 anti-armor weapons, these have been confirmed to be AT4 single-use, shoulder-fired 84mm anti-armor weapons. Photographs of them in depots ready to be issued have been shared and at least one video including one has been shared.

    A grainy still from footage showing a Ukrainian soldier with an AT4/Pansarskott m/86 (via UAWeaponTracker)

    The other prominent weapon which has been shipped to Ukraine is the German Panzerfaust 3. On 26 February, Germany made a major announcement confirming that they would be transferring weapons to Ukraine with an initial batch of 1,000 Panzerfaust 3 shoulder-fired anti-tank weapons. They also cleared the Dutch transfer of an additional 50 Panzerfaust 3 launchers and 400 projectiles. These weapons appear to be now reaching the field. The one seen below is a Panzerfaust 3-IT, with a tandem charge DM72A1 round:

    For a more in-depth look at the Western anti-armor weapons sent to Ukraine, check out our sister site Overt Defense, for their detailed breakdown.  

    Thanks to Neil Gibson for extra information and additional IDs.

    Matthew Moss

    _________________________________________________________________________

    TheFirearmBlog.com – Managing Editor
    OvertDefense.com – Managing Editor

    Matt is a British historian specialising in small arms development and military history. He has written several books and for a variety of publications in both the US and UK. He also runs Historical Firearms, a blog that explores the history, development and use of firearms. Matt is also co-founder of The Armourer’s Bench, a video series on historically significant small arms.

    Here on TFB he covers product and current military small arms news.

    Reach Matt at: [email protected]


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