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
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.