Kornet – Russia Tries to Answer With Their Own Anti-Tank Missiles: You’ve heard about the thousands of anti-tank missiles provided by the West to Ukrainian troops. Tops among these systems are the Javelin and NLAW which have been superbly effective against enemy tanks.
But the Russians have anti-tank missiles too that they believe are even better than those American and British systems. The top Russian anti-tank weapon is the Kornet with a longer range and higher velocity – a missile that the manufacturer says is the best on the battlefield.
Is the Kornet Helping the Russian Cause?
At least one video on social media has the Russian Kornet blasting a Ukrainian tank. That pales in comparison to all the footage and still photos of Javelins taking out Russian tanks. A blog called Oryx that is keeping track of the war losses for both sides with open source analysis believes that the Ukrainians have been better at eliminating Russian armor. The Ukrainians, according to Oryx and Forbes have destroyed “465 Russian heavy vehicles (tanks, armored fighting vehicles, infantry fighting vehicles, armored personnel carriers), versus 138 for the Ukrainians.”
Those figures may be fudged, and to be sure, have been only estimated through social media photographs. But it’s safe to say the Ukrainians have been more successful against Russian armor.
Russia Must Stop the Bleeding and Attack Effectively
That leaves the Kornet. If Russia is going to win this war, they will have to remove more Ukrainian armored vehicles from the battlefield. This war also looks to be more of a fight between standoff anti-tank missiles than tank-on-tank battles. Anti-tank missiles are becoming decisive.
Kornet Has Advantages
The Kornet fires an anti-tank guided missile that can destroy enemy tanks that have explosive reactive armor. Many Ukrainian tanks in the war have older and even obsolete armor, according to Military Watch Magazine. So, Russia should have an advantage with the Kornet.
The Kornet has been used by the Russians since 1998. It’s a third-generation system. The Kornet is portable but not shoulder-fired like the Javelin and requires a two-soldier team. It must be fired from a stand or mounted on an infantry fighting vehicle. It fires high-explosive anti-tank or incendiary rounds that can take out bunkers, buildings, or emplacements and fatally wound enemy fighters inside.
Longer Range than the Javelin
One advantage of the Kornet is its 3.1-mile range. The Javelin has only a 1.5-mile range. But while the Javelin screams upward and then swoops down on a tank’s turret at its weakest point, the Kornet is a direct-fire weapon that has laser-beam riding guidance like the NLAW.
The Kornet fires a large 152mm missile and it was employed effectively by Hezbollah against Israeli tanks in the 2006 Israeli invasion of Lebanon.
Kornet Has Effective Tandem-charge Munitions
The National Interest spoke to Dmitry Litovkin, editor-in-chief of the Russian-based Independent Military Review in December, who is bullish on the Kornet.
“Importantly, the missile has a tandem-charge high-explosive warhead,” said Litovkin. “This means that two charges explode in an attack. The first lead charge removes the target’s reactive armor while the follow-up charge directly wipes it out. While experts say that slat armor protects against standard high-explosive munitions, it is less effective against tandem-charge high-explosive munitions similar to those employed by the Kornet.”
If the Kornet is so good, why isn’t Russia eliminating more Ukrainian armored vehicles? Even if Ukrainian tank losses are incorrect and underestimated, the Russians have still likely lost more tanks and armored personnel carriers than the Ukrainians. This shows that Russians, even with some superior weaponry like the Kornet, are losing the initiative of the fight. The Russian tactics are not surprising to the Ukrainians. The long armored columns are easy to ambush, and even with the Kornet, the Russians will have to learn lessons and adjust tactics to destroy more enemy tanks.
Now serving as 1945’s Defense and National Security Editor, Brent M. Eastwood, Ph.D., is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer. You can follow him on Twitter @BMEastwood.