December 5, 2013: Strategy page
Ukraine is trying to interest buyers in its new Corsar ATGM (Anti-tank guided missile). The 105mm (diameter) missile and its storage/launch container weigh 18 kg (40 pounds). The missile is laser homing, with a range of 2,500 meters and its tandem warhead can penetrate 550mm of armor that is behind reactive (explosive panels) armor. Poland has expressed some interest, even though Poland has been using the Israeli Spike LR for several year. But Corsar is cheaper than Spike and uses laser guidance rather than the more expensive “fire and forget” system. The Spike LR, along with the sealed storage/launch canister, weighs 13 kg (28.6 pounds). The canister is mounted on a 13 kg fire control system (10 kg without the tripod) for aiming and firing. The missile in its canister has a shelf life of twenty years and a range of 4,000 meters. The Spike uses a fiber-optic cable so that the operator can literally drive the missile to the target, although the missile can also be used in "fire and forget" mode. Israel is apparently flexible on what they charge for the Spike LR, saying only that it's cheaper than similar the U.S. Javelin.
Before the Cold War ended in 1991 many Soviet weapons design and production operations were in Ukraine. These were inherited by the newly independent Ukraine after 1991. But most of these organizations went out of business because there was no more Soviet Armed Forces placing large orders each year. Most of the foreign sales disappeared as well. Ukraine salvaged some weapons and design capability by selling off its large Cold War stocks of Soviet weapons at low prices and developing a willingness to sell to anyone who could pay. Ukraine now has a lot of customers in Africa and Asia and noted a demand for ATGMs. These weapons are popular not just for ability to destroy or disable most tanks, but as highly portable and accurate artillery against all sorts of targets. Corsar is old technology but the Ukrainians still know how to produce it cheaply and reliably enough to attract some customers.