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MILAN launcher mounted on French Army VBL
Type Anti-tank missile
Place of origin France / West Germany
Service history
In service 1972–present
Used by See operators
Wars South African Border War
Chadian-Libyan conflict
Falklands War
Gulf War
2003 invasion of Iraq
Syrian Civil War[1][2][3]
Production history
Designed 1970s
Manufacturer MBDA, MKEK (under license)
Unit cost £7,500 (1984)[4]
Produced 1972
No. built 350,000 missiles, 10,000 launchers
Variants See variants
Weight 7.1 kg
Length 1.2 m
Diameter 0.115 m
Warhead tandem HEAT

Engine solid-fuel rocket
Wingspan 0.26 m
Flight ceiling -
Speed 200 m/s
Jet deflector
Individual, vehicle

MILAN (French: Missile d´infanterie léger antichar; English: Light anti-tank infantry missile, milan(e) is French for kite) is a 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 French / German missile that has been license-built by Italy, Spain, Britain and India. Because it is guided by wire by an operator, this missile can avoid most countermeasures (flares, chaff and radio jammers). The drawbacks are 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.


MILAN 1 missile.
MILAN II with stand-off probe which almost doubled penetration
View through MILAN optical sight
  • 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.


Map with MILAN operators in blue and former operators in red

Current operators[edit]

Former operators[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Pattie, Geoffrey. "Weapons and Equipment (Costs)". millbanksystems. millbanksystems. Retrieved 21 May 2016. 
  5. ^ "Armenia purchases France-Germany co-produced anti-tank missile systems". 1 July 2013. Retrieved 18 July 2013. 
  6. ^ Belgium selects Spike missile to replace Milan –, January 3, 2013
  7. ^ France Orders Anti-Tank Missile from MBDA –, 5 December 2013
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Unterstützung der Regierung der Autonomen Region Irakisch-Kurdistan bei der Versorgung der Flüchtlinge und beim Kampf gegen den Islamischen Staat im Nordirak (PDF)" (PDF). German Bundeswehr (in German). 31 August 2014. Retrieved 1 September 2014. 
  10. ^ "Irak: Deutschland schickt Kurden Panzerabwehrraketen". Spiegel Online (in German). 31 August 2014. Retrieved 31 August 2014. 
  11. ^ French, American Weapons Take Toll on ISIS in Ground Combat -, 16 November 2015
  12. ^ [1] -, 2015-2016
  13. ^ id1=101&idaux=101&wiki=Forze_armate_mondiali_dal_secondo_dopoguerra_al_XXI_secolo/Italia:_esercito_3
  14. ^ "Kampf gegen IS-Miliz: Ausrüstung der Bundeswehr möglicherweise in die Hände der PKK gelangt". Der Spiegel. Retrieved 2015-02-14. 
  15. ^ a b c "Trade Registers". Retrieved 2013-06-20. 
  16. ^ B A Lowe (4 January 2009). "SADF Arms Purchases". Retrieved 15 December 2016. 75 MILAN launchers ordered in 1973 and delivered in 1974 
  17. ^ Moukambi, Victor (December 2008). RELATIONS BETWEEN SOUTH AFRICA AND FRANCE WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO MILITARY MATTERS, 1960-1990 (PDF) (Doctoral dissertation thesis). Stellenbosch: Military Science, Stellenbosch University. p. 116. Retrieved 28 April 2017. 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. 
  18. ^ Leon Engelbrecht (8 October 2008). "SANDF Army, SOF "operationalising" MILAN". Retrieved 15 December 2016. 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. 
  19. ^ Leon Engelbrecht (24 May 2011). "SA Army stocks up on Milan 3". 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. 
  20. ^ Syrian rebels captured ammunition depot with Milan / Konkurs anti-tank missiles and rockets –, 5 August 2013
  21. ^
  22. ^ Zaloga (2004), p. 36.

External links[edit]

Video link