US Army Tests Updated Javelin With Reduced Weight, Improved Imaging

A group of Cavalry soldiers recently concluded testing and training on the US Army’s latest Javelin anti-tank missile system, the weapon’s first major update in more than 25 years.

The Javelin Lightweight Command Launch Unit (LW CLU) boasts increased zoom, allowing soldiers to “scan out farther with higher clarity,” Staff Sgt. Tom Magsino explained.

“Everything was crystal clear. It is like watching television in high definition as opposed to TV in the 90s,” he added.

The updated Javelin also incorporates autofocus, which one of the testing soldiers called a “huge, huge help.” Spc. Julian Martinez said he “hit the autofocus button and boom, perfect. It takes away about 5 seconds of my time doing what I need to do.”

Furthermore, upgraded and redesigned hand positions give soldiers relief when holding the system. The reduced weight and size allows it to be transported by rucksack and deployed in 15 to 20 seconds, according to the soldiers.

Infantryman targets using the Javelin Lightweight Command Launch Unit during operational testing at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona
Infantryman targets using the Javelin Lightweight Command Launch Unit during operational testing at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona. Photo Tad Browning/US Army

Training and Testing

The soldiers practiced detection, recognition, and identification exercises with the new LW CLU.

Afterward, the troopers conducted motorized battle drills under realistic conditions against armor such as the Russian T-72 tank.

At the conclusion of the exercises, the troopers were tested according to a “crawl-walk-run” method to ensure the weapon system collected all operational data and user integration with the new piece of equipment was seamless.

The soldiers completing the training found the differences between the old system and the new LW CLU easily noticeable.

The battle drills culminated in a live-fire exercise with the new weapons system in which the troopers found it very easy to hit their intended targets.

“I knew I was going to hit that target,” (a T-72 main battle tank). “I could’ve squinted my eyes and not even thought about it and still hit it,” Cpl. Collin Iadarola said.

The Javelin Missile

The Javelin anti-tank missile is a man-portable, medium-range tactical system that provides precision direct fire against enemy armored vehicles.

It employs the fire-and-forget principle, eliminating the need for additional guidance to hit targets successfully.

The weapon’s “top attack flight profile” allows it to climb above its target for improved visibility and strike where the armor is weakest.

It has a state-of-the-art imaging infrared seeker and tandem warhead for improved accuracy and power.

Apart from neutralizing armored vehicles, the Javelin can execute direct attacks against buildings, close-in targets, and helicopters.

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