|Place of origin||France / West Germany|
|Used by||See operators|
|Wars||South African Border War|
Western Sahara War
Lebanese Civil War
2003 invasion of Iraq
Libyan Civil War
Northern Mali Conflict
Syrian Civil War
Iraqi Civil War
2017 Iraqi–Kurdish conflict
2020 Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
Also produced under license by:
Bharat Dynamics (India)
BAe Dynamics (United Kingdom)
|Unit cost||£7,500 (1984)|
|No. built||350,000 missiles, 10,000 launchers|
|Length||1.2 m (3 ft 11 in)|
|Diameter||0.115 m (4.5 in)|
|Warhead||Single or tandem HEAT|
|Wingspan||0.26 m (10 in)|
|200–2,000 m (660–6,560 ft);|
3,000 m (MILAN ER)
|Maximum speed||200 m/s (660 ft/s)|
MILAN (French: Missile d'infanterie léger antichar; "Light anti-tank infantry missile", milan is French for kite) is a Western European anti-tank guided missile. Design of the MILAN started in 1962, it was ready for trials in 1971, and was accepted for service in 1972. It is a wire-guided SACLOS (semi-automatic command to line-of-sight) missile, which means the sight of the launch unit has to be aimed at the target to guide the missile. The MILAN can be equipped with a MIRA or MILIS thermal sight to give it night-firing ability.
MILAN is a product of Euromissile, a Franco-West German missile development program dating back to the 1960s. The system entered service in 1972 as a second generation anti-tank weapon and soon became a standard anti-tank weapon throughout NATO, in use by most of the alliance's individual armies.
Consisting of two main components, the launcher and the missile, the MILAN system utilizes a semi-automatic command to line of sight (SACLOS) command guidance system. It tracks the missile either by a tail-mounted infrared lamp or an electronic-flash lamp, depending on the model. Because it is guided by wire by an operator, the missile cannot be affected by radio jamming or flares. However, drawbacks include its short range, the exposure of the operator, problems with overland powerlines, and a vulnerability to infrared jammers such as Shtora that can prevent the automatic tracking of the missile's IR tail light.
The MILAN 2 variant, which entered service with the French, German and British armies in 1984, utilizes an improved 115 mm HEAT warhead. The MILAN 3 entered service with the French army in 1995 and features a new-generation localizer that makes the system more difficult to jam electronically.
- MILAN 1: Single, main shaped charge warhead (1972), calibre 103 mm
- MILAN 2: Single, main shaped charge warhead, with standoff probe to increase penetration (1984) – see photo to right, calibre 115 mm
- MILAN 2T: Single main shaped charge, with smaller shape charge warhead at end of standoff probe to defeat reactive armour (1993)
- MILAN 3: Tandem, shaped charge warheads (1996) and electronic beacon
- MILAN ER: Extended range (3,000 m) and improved penetration
The later MILAN models have tandem HEAT warheads. This was done to keep pace with developments in Soviet armour technology – Soviet tanks began to appear with explosive reactive armour, which could defeat earlier ATGMs. The smaller precursor HEAT warhead penetrates and detonates the ERA tiles, paving the way for the main HEAT warhead to penetrate the armour behind.
MILAN missile systems were among the numerous weapons sent to the Mujahideen in Afghanistan in the 1980s by the United States to combat Soviet troops. The MILAN had a devastating effect on Soviet armor, having a similar effect on tanks and armored personnel carriers as Stinger missiles had had on Soviet helicopters. In 2010, French troops killed four Afghan civilians in Kapisa Province using a MILAN system during a firefight.
MILAN missiles provided by the French government saw common usage during the war between Chad and Libya where they were used by Chadian forces. Often mounted on Toyota pickup trucks, the missiles successfully engaged Libyan armour in the Aouzou Strip including T-55 tanks.
In 1982, the ruling military junta in Argentina invaded the UK overseas territory of the Falkland Islands, leading to the Falklands War. British forces used MILAN, along with the M72 LAW and Carl Gustaf, in a 'bunker buster' role. The MILAN saw use in the battles for Goose Green, Mount Longdon, Two Sisters and Wireless Ridge.
MILAN was used by both coalition and Iraqi forces during the Persian Gulf War, with a MILAN launcher operated by French forces claiming to have destroyed seven T-55 tanks. Iraqi operated MILAN missiles were supplied by the French government during the 1980s and were used by Iraqi forces during both Gulf Wars.
Syria ordered about 200 launchers and 4,000 missiles in 1977 which were delivered in 1978-1979 and used by the Syrians during the Lebanese Civil War. The Syrian army used Milan missiles against Israeli tanks in Lebanon in 1982. The missiles were in service during the Syrian Civil War, fielded by the Republican Guard. Syrian rebels captured some in depots, as did ISIL. The Kurdish YPG also used Milans supplied by the international coalition.
In 2015, Germany supplied the Peshmerga with 30 MILAN launchers and over 500 missiles. Those missiles were mostly used against ISIS forces, but on 20 October during the 2017 Iraqi–Kurdish conflict, Kurdish forces destroyed an Iraqi M1 Abrams tank and several Humvees using the MILANs.
The first Milan version was delivered to the Special Forces and the antitank platoons in the late 1970s and 1980s at a scale of six launchers per platoon. Each platoon was organised into three antitank sections, with two ATGM launchers and two M40A1 106mm recoilless guns or two rocket launchers.
Six SADF Milan teams were deployed by the Special Forces in support of the Angolan UNITA guerrillas, in the Cazombo Salient in 1985 during Operation Wallpaper.
- Afghanistan – Afghan National Army : 271
- Algeria – Algerian People's National Army : 340
- Bahrain - Royal Bahraini Army: mounted on 5 AIFV-B-Milan vehicles : 343
- Bosnia and Herzegovina - Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina : 90
- Botswana - Botswana Defence Force
- Brazil – Brazilian Army : 406
- Burundi - Burundi Army (reported) : 465
- Cameroon - Cameroon Army  : 466
- Chad – Chadian Ground Forces: : 469 mounted on light vehicles
- Cyprus – Cypriot National Guard : 95
- Estonia – Estonian Defence Forces : 100
- Egypt – Egyptian Army : 345
- France – French Army: Infantry and vehicle-mounted weapon. : 105 Will be replaced by Missile Moyenne Portée (MMP) from 2017.
- Gabon - Gabon Army : 478
- Germany – Bundeswehr : 109
- Greece – Hellenic Army : 112
- India – Indian Army: :271 MILAN-2 (some or all built under license by Bharat Dynamics), and MILAN-2T
- Indonesia - Indonesian Army : 276
- Iraq – Iraqi Army
- Kurdistan – Peshmerga: 30 launchers and 500 missiles, delivery in two portions was announced on August 31, 2014 by German Bundeswehr. These are 1980s Milan 2 replaced by later models but still in storage. Used by the Kurds to stop ISIL vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs).
- Italy – Italian Army Total of 714 launchers with 17,163 missile delivered in 1990. 807 MILAN 2T ordered in 2004 and delivered in 2005 (SIPRI).
- Jordan - mounted on 45 AIFV-B-Milan vehicles : 358
- Kenya – Kenyan Army : 483
- Lebanon – Lebanese Army : 362
- Libya – Libyan National Army: 1,000 MILAN-3 exported between 2008 and 2011, 400 systems in 2011.
- North Macedonia – Army of the Republic of Macedonia : 126
- Mauritania – Mauritanian Army : 365
- Mexico – Mexican Army: mounted on 8 Panhard VBL scout cars : 427
- Morocco – Royal Moroccan Army : 367
- Oman - Royal Army of Oman and Royal Household : 370
- Portugal – Portuguese Army; Portuguese Marines : 137
- PKK : As per the Der Spiegel, PKK acquired the MILAN anti tank missiles
- Saudi Arabia - Saudi Arabian Army : 373
- Senegal - Senegalese Army : 496
- Singapore - Singapore Army : 307
- South Africa – South African Army: 375 missiles.
- Syria – Syrian Army : 377
- Tunisia – Tunisian Armed Forces: 120 missiles.
- Turkey – Turkish Army : 154
- United Arab Emirates : 381
- Uruguay – Uruguayan Army : 438
- Yemen – Yemeni security forces
- Australia – Australian Army: Was used by infantry and mounted on vehicles. The Australian Army withdrew the MILAN from service in the early 1990s. The ADF now fields the FGM-148 Javelin system.
- Belgium – Belgian Army: Infantry weapon; replaced by Spike-LR in 2014
- Ireland – Irish Army: Infantry weapon; replaced by the FGM-148 Javelin.
- Somalia - imported in 1978-1979
- Spain – Spanish Army
- UNITA: 150 missiles.
- United Kingdom – British Army; Royal Marines – While primarily an infantry weapon, it was also used in the FV120 Spartan MCT turret. Over 50,000 missiles were purchased for use in the British Armed Forces. The MILAN was deployed against Argentine bunkers in the Falklands conflict and later against T-55s during the Persian Gulf War. It was replaced by the FGM-148 Javelin in mid-2005. Previously made under licence by British Aerospace Dynamics.
German Army MILAN equipped with an AGDUS combat simulator
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75 MILAN launchers ordered in 1973 and delivered in 1974
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In December 1973, it was reported that [Pretoria] signed a contract.. for the supply of 50 Matra 550 air-to-air missiles ..[and] a contract over the supply of 1500 Milan missiles. Source: French Defence Ministry; Historical Archives, Paris, Box No. 14 S 295, Monthly report of the French Military Attaché in South Africa, Imports from France, November 1973. Report of the French Military Attaché in South Africa, November 1973.
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The launchers were received in 1974, but were placed in storage in 1996. SA employed the MILAN in combat in southern Angola in the 1980s. Under Project Kingfisher, 30 launchers were upgraded to Milan ADT-ER status and 300 missiles were acquired for R167.4 million.
- Leon Engelbrecht (24 May 2011). "SA Army stocks up on Milan 3". Archived from the original on 20 December 2016. Retrieved 15 December 2016.
The SANDF has ordered an undisclosed further number of Milan missiles..The R57 990 630.80 purchase order was awarded to Euromissile [sic] last week. It takes the known value of Project Kingfisher – according to the Armscor Bulletin System (ABS) – to R271 076 483.37...The Kingfisher contract was placed on December 20, 2006, and initially escaped media notice. In March 2009 the military ordered a further 13 Milan ADT firing posts and four simulators under a contract worth €10.7 million (about R129.3 million at then exchange rates, but R81.5 million on the ABS.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to MILAN.|
- Technical data sheet on the website of MBDA
- Information about The British Army's Milan 2
- Video link
- on YouTube