Russia’s Kornet anti-tank guided missile has now destroyed all the most modern tanks in the Western bloc, from the British Challenger 2, the German Leopard 2, the American Abrams and the Israeli Merkava IV.
After it was confirmed on September 5 that the Russian Army had destroyed British Challenger 2 tanks in Ukraine, Russian sources widely reported that it was the Kornet anti-tank missile that destroyed the British Challenger 2.
The release of the video of the attack, recorded by a drone, shows that the Challenger 2 tank was hit by a guided missile, and all previous suspicions were eliminated that this Challenger 2 was destroyed by the Russian Lancet 2 suicide UAV. The video also confirms that Kornet anti-tank missiles were used, consistent with the footage as well as the speed and trajectory of the missile. Challenger 2 tanks are among the heaviest Western tanks in the world and come directly from British Army stocks; That means they do not have their armor downgraded like the Abrams tanks, which the US provided to Ukraine. But in fact, they were still easily destroyed by Kornet missiles.
Kornet is a Russian man-portable anti-tank guided missile, the total combat weight of the entire system is only 28kg and has been in use since 1998. Since its deployment on the battlefield, Kornet has destroyed more modern tanks than any other system of its class. Kornet was first used during the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. At this time, some units of the Iraqi Republican Guard were said to have obtained Kornet missiles through black market purchases, despite the arms embargo against Iraq by the United Nations Security Council. Kornet proved highly effective against Abrams tanks and American Bradley fighting vehicles.
Three years after the Iraq war, in 2006, Kornet missiles were again used by Hezbollah guerrillas, against Israeli Merkava tanks, including the improved Merkava IV variant, penetrating the armor of at least two dozen Israeli tanks. Next, IS terrorist group forces effectively used Kornet missiles captured from the Iraqi army to disable many Abrams tanks of the Iraqi Army since 2014.
The nightmare with Western tanks does not stop there, some information also said that Kornets missiles were also used by Kurdish militia forces to shoot down many Turkish Leopard 2 tanks in the Syrian battlefield. A notable feature of the missile is the tandem HEAT warhead. With a 152 mm diameter it is one of the largest and most powerful ATGM’s ever built. This feature is meant to defeat the threat posed by Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA) on modern tanks. Its fearsome reputation is derived from its extreme range that’s far beyond most current anti-tank missiles. The FGM-148 Javelin, for example, can only deliver its lethal top attack warhead 2.5 kilometers away while the original Kornet-E developed by the Instrument Design Bureau (KBP) had a maximum range of 5.5 km.
Although up to now there have been very few reports related to the use of Kornet missiles in the Ukrainian battlefield (because Russia also has many other advanced anti-tank missile systems), Russian President Vladimir Putin last June praised the system’s performance and said that larger quantities were needed.
The fact that the “super tank” Challenger 2 was a “victim” of Kornet, continued to add to Kornet’s remarkable “collection”, including Leopard 2, M1/M2 Abrams and Merkava IV. Kornet has proven itself to be a capable “killer” anti-tank missile. Although Kornet is only a 2nd generation anti-tank missile, it does not have the “fire and forget” ability like the US Javelin, Israel’s Spike or China’s HJ-12 Red Arrow. However, with a well-trained crew, the Kornet missile is as reliable as other 3rd generation anti-tank missiles.