Tag Archives: NLAW

Anti-tank missile

The Fire Support Group of Yankee Company, 45 Commando Royal Marines have let rip with the next-generation light anti tank weapon. The Arbroath-based green berets missed out on the chance for live firing back in the spring because they were deployed with HMS Bulwark rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean.

A Royal Marine fires an NLAW during an exercise. Together with the heavier Javelin missile, NLAW is the Royal Marines’ primary anti-tank weapon (RN photo)
A Royal Marine fires an NLAW during an exercise. Together with the heavier Javelin missile, NLAW is the Royal Marines’ primary anti-tank weapon (RN photo)

Six months later and their chance came at Otterburn ranges, outside Newcastle, and a week of non-stop firepower, beginning with machine-guns and ending with some tankbusting. However, as impressive as two gun lines of machine-guns hammering away are, the party piece of Exercise Black Storm was some live missile firing – three NLAWs, one Javelin.

Javelin can knock out enemy armour at four times the distance (about 2,500 metres or 1½ miles) of the smaller NLAW (Next-generation Light Anti-tank Weapon) anti-tank missile.

Marine Danny Dugan was selected to fire the ‘Jav’ in front of a large crowd of soldiers and marines: «There was a gasp of shock when the missile left the launcher and started curving off to the left – only for a sigh of relief to hit as the missile curled back towards the target after taking a dogleg».

«There was a gasp of shock when the missile left the launcher and started curving off to the left – only for a sigh of relief to hit as the missile curled back towards the target after taking a dogleg,” said Marine Kev MacNeish. «Everyone was buzzing».

The lighter NLAWs are only effective at tanks closer than 600 metres – under 2,000 feet – and can be fired directly into the target, or can climb and plunge into the turret from above, known as ‘top attack’.

Marine MacNeish added: «All the fire support group had been looking forward to getting some valuable trigger time. This was a hoofing week and everyone left with high morale».