Following a significant manufacturing increase announced by Saab Group, the NLAW rocket will become the most produced anti-tank weapon in history.
The NLAW missile is an exceptionally powerful anti-tank weapon developed jointly by the United Kingdom and Sweden and manufactured by Saab Corporation. It has numerous innovative tactical features. The unique characteristic of NLAW is that it conducts the renowned roof strike, but the missile does not follow a rainbow trajectory, but instead makes a direct flight to the enemy tank when the sensor is engaged and directs the explosive warhead downwards. The NLAW missile, as a result of this technology, does not require the gunner to spend a lengthy time to lock the target before launching, unlike the FGM-148 Javelin, which has a very fast reaction time, making it impossible for the opponent to defend.
The NLAW’s guidance system employs a Predictive Line of Sight (PLOS) algorithm, which is not guided to the target and hence cannot be considered a missile. This is still a shoot-and-forget weapon; the operator engages the system and watches the target for two to three seconds before firing. The navigation system then calculates the expected flight path to secure a hit.
The NLAW includes a “soft launch” system that enables it to be launched from cover and inside buildings; this feature makes it ideal for urban combat. If the situation calls for it, it can also be fired without guidance forecast. The NLAW system is 1,016 meters long, weighs 12.5 kg in combat, has a maximum effective range of 1,000 meters, a missile with a diameter of 150 millimeters, and a warhead that may be angled down 90 degrees.
Despite the fact that the Trijicon Compact ACOG 2.520 sight can be disassembled and reused for financial savings, the NLAW is a maintenance-free disposable weapon system. Particularly with those types of weapons that have shown to be quite effective in contemporary fights, weapons makers are constantly engaged in increasing their operations. The NLAW anti-tank missile system will now be produced by Saab Corporation at a rate of 400,000 units annually, which represents a second doubling in a short period of time. Saab CEO Mr. Mikael Johansson made the following clear: “Since we have increased yearly capacity at our facilities in Sweden by a factor of two, it is anticipated that Saab will repeat this process in 2025, when Saab’s plants will produce 400 thousand NLAWs annually.”
As a result, it can be projected that Saab’s current capacity for production is roughly 100,000 NLAW fruits annually, with 200,000 fruits expected in 2022 and 400 thousand by 2025. A significant rise in manufacturing is undoubtedly due to the high demand for this weapon, which comes from many different customers worldwide in addition to the UK and Sweden. In particular, as Mr. Johansson points out, the UK Ministry of Defense inked a $280 million contract with Saab Group to replace the stockpile by the end of 2022.
The NLAW will become the most popular anti-tank missile on the market and even the most successful in all of military history when it is produced in an annual volume of 400,000. Only 8 nations will have NLAW ATGM in their armed forces by the end of 2021, although this number is anticipated to grow significantly in the coming years.