As seen in the Weapons for Helicopters section, weapons such as the Tow, Hot, Hellfire and Trigat-LR can also be fired from ground vehicles, but infantry weapons are generally lighter far portability.
Lightness is achieved by restricting range. This may at first appear detrimental, but is justified by the fact that a man on the ground can rarely see as far as a helicopter crew.
As a starting-point in discussing this category, we may take the Euromissile Milan, which weighs just over half as much as that company's Hot, and has half the range, i.e. 2000 metres. The Milan 1 entered service in 1974 with a warhead of 103 mm diameter, giving an armour penetration of 650 mm. It was followed in 1984 by Milan 2 with a 115 mm warhead and an improved filling, giving 880 mm of penetration. In 1991, the Milan 2T added a precursor charge to give the same penetration against a tank protected with ERA. The Milan 3 of 1995 added a coded xenon beacon for improved countermeasures-resistance and the Mills thermal sight, which provides vehicle detection at up to 4000 metres in night operations.
The Milan series has been used in many conflicts, starting with Lebanon in 1976, then 1982 to 1988 Iran-Iraq War, the Falklands in 1982, Desert Storm in 1991 etc. More than a third of a million rounds have been produced, including 76 000 for France, and the licensed manufacture of 100000 in Britain, India and Spain. The Milan is still in service in 44 countries around the world. Hit probability in Desert Storm was 92 per cent. However, in spite of its numerous upgrades, the Milan, with a limited diameter warhead, will not be able to cope with future armour, especially since future ERA requires at least 50 mm diameter precursor charges to defeat them.
The missile developed to replace the Milan was to have been the EMDG Trigat-MR (medium range), which employs laser beam-riding for an unjammable day/night adverse-weather capability. Technical features included thrust-vectoring control, a laser proximity fuze and an on-top attack.
It was cleared for service in 1996, but when the British decision to drop out of the programme -- ironically the nation that had the requirement for the largest numbers of firing posts and missiles -- on the last week day of the 2000 Farnborough Air Show, it became clear that the five-nation anti-tank missile programme had breathed its last. Aerospatiale Matra Missiles, however, had a card up its sleeve.
Britain was not entirely responsible for the Trigat's demise. Mr Delay was, showing once more how difficult a multiple-nation programme is to bring to fruition. The catalytic factor came from the Netherlands which, by undertaking endless investigations over other missile types, postponed its signature of the industrialisation and production memorandum of understanding sine die after the other nations minus Belgium (change of government) finally had -- causing impatience among the other nations.
Whilst the Trigat was initially intended to fulfil the requirements of Belgium, Britain, France, Germany and the Netherlands, it was clear that ultimately some of the 44 Milan anti-armour missile customer nations were expected to stretch the Trigat user list. Thus, there was still a strong customer base to capitalise on (some 10000 Milan launch units and 340 000 missiles sold to date).
Within six weeks -- between early August and 15 September...