The FGM-148 Javelin is an American man-portable anti-tank guided missile.

The FGM-148 Javelin is an American man-portable anti-tank guided missile.


Javelin is a fire-and-forget missile with lock-on before launch and automatic self-guidance.


The system takes a top-attack flight profile against armoured vehicles (attacking the top armour which is generally thinner) but can also take a direct-attack mode for use against buildings or fortifications.


This missile also has the ability to engage helicopters in the direct attack mode.


The missile reaches a peak altitude of 150m in top attack mode and 50m in direct fire mode. The missile is equipped with an imaging infrared seeker.


The tandem warhead is fitted with two shaped charges - a precursor warhead to detonate any explosive reactive armour and a primary warhead to penetrate base armour.


Javelin was used in the 2003 Invasion of Iraq, with devastating effects on Iraqi copies of T-72s and Type 69 tanks.

The missile is ejected from the launcher so that it reaches a safe distance from the operator before the main rocket motors ignite; a "soft launch arrangement." This makes it harder to identify the launcher and allows it to be fired from within buildings; however, back-blast from the launch tube still poses a hazard to nearby personnel. Thanks to this "fire and forget" system, the firing team may move on as soon as the missile has been launched.

The missile system is carried most often by a two man team consisting of a gunner and an ammo bearer. While the gunner aims and fires the missile, the ammo bearer scans for prospective targets and watches for threats such as enemy vehicles and troops.

The estimated cost of one Javelin missile is about $75,000.

JAVELIN Specifications
Type Man portable anti-tank missile
Manufacturer Lockheed Martin, Raytheon
Weight 28kg
Warhead 8.4kg tandem shaped HEAT capable of penetrating up to 600mm of armour
Length 1.1m
Diameter 12.7m
Performance Range 75m - 2km, guidance infrared

Photo US DoD