Missile tank

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A missile tank is an armoured fighting vehicle fulfilling the role of a main battle tank, but using only guided missiles for main armament. Several nations have experimented with prototypes, notably the Soviet Union during the tenure of Nikita Khrushchev (projects Obyekt 167, Obyekt 137Ml, Obyekt 155Ml), but only the West German Jaguar 2 saw service as a standard vehicle, although the Soviet IT-1 missile tank also saw limited service.

The term is sometimes applied more loosely to conventional tanks which are able to launch anti-tank guided missiles, to supplement their main gun for very long-range fire. Examples are the U.S.-German prototype MBT-70, the defunct U.S. M551 Sheridan and French AMX-13, and several Soviet, Russian, and Ukrainian tanks: T-64, T-72, T-80, T-84, and T-90. Some of the T-55's currently in use with the Peruvian Army also seem to have racks with missiles fitted to their turrets.

A Polish combat engineering version of the Soviet T-55A main battle tank was also equipped with PW-LWD rockets. Although these were actually a rapid breaching system and not a weapon as such.

In the 1930s, the Soviet Union tested the RBT-5 rocket-based assault gun, comprising a BT tank mounting two 250-kg "TT Tank Torpedo" unguided rockets its turret sides. In World War Two they also deployed the BM-8-24 multiple rocket launcher, based on a T-60 light tank chassis. These weapons firing unguided rockets rather than guided missiles are properly classified as rocket artillery.

References[edit]

  • Zaloga, Steven J. (2004). T-54 and T-55 Main Battle Tanks 1944-2004. Osprey. ISBN 1-84176-792-1.