Ever heard of an ATGM that doesn’t use a shaped charge? Well meet the American LOSAT tank destroyer — equipped with guided missiles that feature a kinetic penetrator!
LOSAT, ATGM Carrier, USA, Rank VII. Event Vehicle.
- Unique kinetic ATGMs.
- No vertical traverse.
- Great mobility.
- Ineffective at close range.
The development of an anti-tank guided missile with a kinetic warhead began in the US during the late 80s. Based on the HVM air-to-air missile, the intention was to create an anti-tank missile that would strike its target with hypersonic speed while utilizing an armor-piercing core. One proposed variant of the system used the chassis of the CCVL light tank equipped with 12 missile tubes. Following the collapse of the USSR, work on the concept nearly halted until the late 90s when the LOSAT (Line-of-Sight Anti-Tank) project, now as a technology demonstrator, again attracted the attention of the US military. The program received funding for refinement and testing, and in 2002 the LOSAT system was even assigned an official operational name, MGM-166A. However, after a series of tests, the program was terminated and the vehicle never made it into operational units.
The main tank prize of the Tokushu Heiki crafting event will be the American experimental LOSAT anti-tank system. Featuring a launcher for 12 ATGMs with kinetic armor-piercing cores on a highly mobile chassis — you've definitely never seen something like this before!
At the heart of the LOSAT project are its unique guided missiles. Instead of the standard shaped-charge warhead regularly found on such weapons, the LOSAT missiles utilize a reinforced core, which is accelerated to hypersonic speeds. The principle of this ammunition is functionally quite similar to tank-fired APFSDS rounds, only the missiles fired by the LOSAT have a significantly greater mass.
In flight, these missiles are conveniently guided by a laser beam, but their launch has certain peculiarities. Firstly, the entire ammunition load of 12 missiles are all ready to go in the launcher, but the launcher itself can only traverse horizontally. Once fired, for the first few seconds the missile tends to dip in its trajectory until its engines provide the required propulsion for steady flight. In combat, this means that it's nearly impossible for the operator to accurately hit close range targets, or even guide the missile if there are obstacles in front of the vehicle. Additionally, due to the kinetic warhead, the missile achieves its optimum armor penetration after its engines fully kick in, so even if the missile does connect at close range it won’t have much power behind it.
The platform of the system itself will be familiar to tankers who have experience with the CCVL. It's a mobile platform with a top speed of up to 70 km/h and a quick turn rate for swift adjustments to positioning. The compromise of this mobility however is, no surprise — the armor, which is only bullet-resistant and made of light alloys, so it doesn't offer any tangible protection.
The unique LOSAT tank destroyer will only be available during the Tokushu Heiki crafting event, which starts on September 26th. This vehicle is certainly a special one, we hope you enjoy adding it to your collection! Make sure to check out all the details of the event and how to take part this Monday on the 25th with the news article — See you then!