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Explained: How the NLAW Tank-Killer Missile Kills Tanks

A member of 2nd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment fires a Next-generation Light Anti-tank Weapon (NLAW)...Paratroopers have demonstrated the firepower that they could bring to bear during combat missions as the British Army’s global response force. ..As the culmination of a course in support weapons skills, paratroopers staged a firepower demonstration on Salisbury Plain. ..The Next-generation Light Anti-tank Weapon (NLAW) is the first, non-expert, short-range, anti-tank missile that rapidly knocks out any main battle tank in just one shot by striking it from above...NLAW utilises predicted line of sight guidance and has overfly top and direct attack modes, and it is easy to use, making it a valuable tank destroyer for light forces that operate dismounted in all environments, including built up areas...It also has night vision capability and is designed for all climate conditions and environments..

What is the PLOS Guidance System Used by NLAW Missiles? – Saab’s NLAW anti-tank systems have proven a popular weapon among Ukrainian fighters, having already been used in several high-profile attacks against Russian military vehicles and ships. 

These next-generation light anti-tank weapons, designed to be used by a single infantryman and fired from over the shoulder, use an advanced guidance system designed to make it as easy as possible to hit specific targets.

Using a combination of advanced hardware and software, Saab developed a system that requires a single troop to point the missile launcher at a moving target, focus on that target for just a handful of seconds, and deploy the weapon. 

The missiles use a predicted line of sight (PLOS) system to carry out overfly top attacks on armored vehicles and direct attacks on structures and non-armored vehicles. 

How PLOS Guidance Works

The Predicted Line of Sight system is not available on most light anti-tank systems designed to be used by a single infantryman, but the NLAW makes it simple. An operator simply holds the missile launcher on their shoulder and uses the built-in sight to focus on a target. 

The operator can initiate the PLOS guidance and track a moving target in their 2.5x magnification sight. Once the target has been tracked for anywhere between three and five seconds, the operator can launch the missile.

A chamber of pressurized gas launches the missile without an explosion, firing it into the air where it then ignites a rocket-powered motor and accelerated to a speed of 220 meters per second. The system means that operators are protected from burns.

Once in the air, the missile focuses on the target that the operator tracked before launch. It uses its own hardware and software to track the target. An algorithm predicts where the target will be based on the movement seen during the initial 3-5 seconds of tracking.

The PLOS guidance system has already proven highly effective in combat for Ukrainian troops fighting Russians. It also allows operators to target armored vehicles from above, or use the direct attack mode to strike targets from the side.

Russia Claims Ukraine’s Anti-Tank Missiles Aren’t working

Despite losing more than 460 tanks since the beginning of the invasion, along with 2,741 armored vehicles, Russia claims that the anti-tank missiles used by Ukrainian forces aren’t working. 

Russia’s state-owned TASS news agency claimed that both the NLAW and Javelin missile systems aren’t performing as well as hoped.

“The much-touted Javelin and NLAW man-portable anti-tank missile systems supplied by NATO countries to Ukraine have performed poorly on the battlefield and created numerous setbacks,” TASS reported, citing claims from a Ukrainian soldier captured by the Russians. 

The prisoner claimed that NLAWs were failing to prove their worth, that soldiers suffered setbacks, and that “some weapons had storage batteries with an expired service life while most batches indicated years past expiration dates.”

Meanwhile, Russia is struggling to resupply its troops with precision-guided missiles and relies heavily on so-called “dumb” bombs, the British Ministry of Defence confirmed on Monday. 

Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.

Written By

Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive's Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.



  1. Alex

    May 11, 2022 at 12:11 pm

    A bit of truth.

    The head of the UN monitoring mission, Matilda Bogner, said that the organization has reliable information about the torture of Russian soldiers in Ukrainian captivity:
    “Ukraine and Russia must promptly and effectively investigate all allegations of torture and ill-treatment of prisoners of war,” she said.

    The military-civilian administration of the Kherson region announced their intention to appeal to Putin with a request to include the region into Russia:
    “We intend to live as part of the Russian Federation. We fully cooperate and feel as one with the regions of Russia.”

    Pfizer, Moderna, Merck, Gilead are testing medicines in Ukraine, bypassing international safety standards, reducing the costs of research programs and gaining significant competitive advantages. Coronavirus vaccine manufacturers have been involved in US military biological activities.

    Along with American pharmaceutical companies and Pentagon contractors, Ukrainian state structures are involved in military biological activities, the main tasks of which are to conceal illegal activities, conduct field and clinical trials, and provide the necessary biomaterial.
    The American side expanded its research potential both in the field of creating biological weapons and in the field of obtaining information about antibiotic resistance and the presence of antibodies to various diseases in the population of specific regions.

    Ukraine has long become a training ground for Western countries to create biological weapons components and test new samples of pharmaceuticals.

    The United States, as part of its military biological program in Ukraine, used Mariupol as a regional center for work with the cholera pathogen.
    Evidence was obtained of the emergency destruction of documents confirming work with the US military department. A preliminary analysis of the surviving documentation indicates the use of Mariupol as a regional center for the collection and certification of the cholera pathogen.

    The selected strains were sent to the public health center in Kyiv, which is entrusted with the functions of further sending biomaterials to the United States.
    This activity has been carried out since 2014, which is confirmed by the acts of transfer of strains.

    Pentagon spokesman John Kirby on Fox News recalled that the United States supplied weapons to Ukraine long before the start of the Russian special operation.
    “The Biden administration was supplying weapons long before the invasion. The first billion dollars that the president allocated for Ukraine did indeed include assistance with lethal weapons … The United States, Canada, Britain, other allies actually helped prepare the Ukrainians, ”Kirby quoted the TV channel as saying.

    As military experts and analysts had previously assumed, Ukraine would have brought down all its military power on the Donbass in any case, but Russia was the first to come to the aid of Donyuass.

    The world is watching. The world sees. Lies are dying.

  2. Alex

    May 12, 2022 at 10:19 am

    OK. In Ukraine, 10,000 Russian and 1,000 Russian tanks are destroyed every day. It’s not even funny to read, but it’s not interesting anymore. Let’s talk about the collapsed Russian economy:

    The Russian ruble has become the best world currency in 2022. On Thursday, May 12, Bloomberg reported.

    According to the latest data, the ruble has grown by 11 percent against the dollar since the beginning of 2022. Thus, it has become the leader among the 31 major currencies monitored by the agency’s experts.

    The strengthening of the currency came after the measures taken by the Russian government against the backdrop of Western sanctions, writes Bloomberg. It is clarified that the authorities introduced capital controls, and also obliged exporters to sell foreign exchange earnings. In particular, in March, the President of Russia announced a new procedure for paying for gas by European consumers.

    As similar examples, the authors of the article cite the Turkish lira and the Argentine peso, which failed to achieve maximum growth rates after the decisions of the governments of these countries. The Russian currency, on the contrary, responded well to the measures taken, Bloomberg experts conclude.

    Only facts, not squeals and fantasies of Bandera Nazis and Slavophobes.

  3. Alex

    May 12, 2022 at 11:55 am

    Russia’s oil revenues have grown by 50% since the beginning of the year, despite trade restrictions imposed after the start of a special operation in Ukraine, writes Bloomberg citing a report by the International Energy Agency.

    “Russia has earned approximately $20 billion monthly since the beginning of 2022 from cumulative sales of oil and petroleum products at an export level of 8 million barrels per day,” the document says. As the IEA noted, supplies from Russia continue to flow despite the fact that the EU is currently discussing a ban on energy imports, and major international oil companies Shell and Total Energy promise to stop purchases.

    Russian energy resources are in high demand in Asia, especially in India and China. Experts emphasize that the reduction in the supply of refined products from Russia, such as diesel fuel, fuel oil and naphtha, has exacerbated tensions on world markets. At the same time, stocks of so-called middle distillates (some types of petroleum products that are obtained as a result of the distillation of hydrocarbons, including heating and marine fuels) are at their lowest level since 2008.

    Another collapse of the Russian economy. I am sure that in Russia they clap and thank you.

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