Iconic Tank Killers

An important part of the multi-billion-dollar military aid package being sent to Ukraine is Javelin missiles, more precisely known as the FGM-148 Javelin or Advanced Anti-Tank Weapon System-Medium (AAWS-M). They are portable American-made anti-tank systems that have been in continuous use since the mid-1990s.

A soldier from the Idaho Army National Guard fires a Javelin anti-tank missile at the Orchard Combat Training Center ranges in Idaho. Image Credit: Thomas Alvarez/Idaho Army National Guard
A soldier from the Idaho Army National Guard fires a Javelin anti-tank missile at the Orchard Combat Training Center ranges in Idaho. Image Credit: Thomas Alvarez/Idaho Army National Guard

Since the early days of the Ukrainian conflict, Javelins have been blowing Russian tanks off of their treads right and left. However, they are only one of many from a specific type of weapons systems being employed to extract a heavy price from Putin’s forces.

When speaking of these weapons, CSIS International Security Program Senior Adviser Mark Cancian says, “The Javelins are the top end. They’re most expensive and the most effective.”

Manufactured in the US by Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, the Javelin costs $178,000, including the launch system and missile, according to the Pentagon’s 2021 budget. Each replacement missile costs around $78,000. With Russian tanks costing up to $4 million each, you literally get a lot of bang for the buck destroyed.