|Type Anti-tank missile|
In service 1998–present
Wars See Combat history
|Place of origin Russia|
Used by See Operators
|Designer KBP Instrument Design Bureau|
The Kornet (Russian: "Корнет"; English: Cornet) is a Russian anti-tank guided missile (ATGM). It is intended for use against main battle tanks, but is not intended to fully replace previous systems, due to its high cost. The missile carries the GRAU designation 9M133 and the NATO reporting name AT-14 Spriggan. It was first introduced into service with the Russian Army in 1998. Its export designation is the Kornet-E.
The Kornet anti-tank missile was unveiled in October 1994 by the KBP Instrument Design Bureau. The missile started development in 1988 as a modular, universal system able to engage any target from a mix of platforms using a reliable laser beam guidance system that was simple to use. It is a heavy ATGM, superior to the earlier 9K111 Fagot (NATO: AT-4 Spigot) and 9K113 Konkurs (NATO: AT-5 Spandrel) wire-guided ATGMs, but not to replace them (due to the cost). The missile entered service in the Russian army in 1998. Its export designation is the Kornet-E.
The Kornet Anti Tank Missile system is an advanced ATGM with spiral trajectory.
The 9M133 missile together with its 9P163-1 tripod launcher and 1PN79-1 thermal sight forms the 9K135 missile system, which can be carried and operated by a two-person infantry crew. The transfer to the firing position takes less than one minute, and preparation and production of a shot in at least one second. In addition to an infantry portable version, the 9K133 system has been integrated into a variety of other vehicles and weapons systems as either an upgrade package or a new weapon system. The 9K133 has been fitted into a BMP-3 to form the 9P163M-1 tank destroyer and is similar in function to the Khrizantema missile system. The 9P163M-1 carries two 9M133 missiles on launch rails, which are extended from a stowed position during transit. Missile are re-loaded automatically by the tank destroyer from an internal magazine with 16 rounds (missiles are stored and transported in sealed canisters). NBC protection is provided for the two crew (gunner and driver) of each 9P163M-1 in addition to full armour protection equivalent to the standard BMP-3 chassis. The guidance system of the 9P163M-1 allows two missiles to be fired at once, each operating on different guidance (laser) channels.
The KBP Instrument Design Bureau has also marketed the 9M133 missile as part of the Kvartet system for mounting on vehicles and boats; the system has four missiles on ready to launch rails along with associated guidance and sighting system all packaged in a single turret; the guidance system also allows two missiles to be fired at once. The turret has space for an additional five rounds and is operated by a single individual. Another upgrade possibility is the Kliver missile and gun turret, seen as an upgrade option for the BTR series of APC, BMP-1 IFV and patrol boats. It has similar capabilities as the Kvartet turret, but also carries a 30 mm 2A72 cannon; turret weight is 1,500 kg. Finally the 9M133 is also available in the BEREZHOK turret upgrade also made available by KBP. Since 2014, its serial production has been resumed for the domestic market with the designation B05YA01.
The Kornet-EM variant uses technical vision with an automatic target tracker to make it a "fire and forget" missile, giving it a 5-times increase in accuracy of target tracking at any range. The fire and forget capability gives a vehicle with more than one launcher the ability to salvo launch against two different targets at once, increasing its rate of fire and decreasing the number of vehicles needed for a mission, as well as salvo fire of two missiles against one target to defeat vehicles equipped with an active protection system. The system's use of an autotracker can make it effective against aerial threats like helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
During the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Kornets were used by some groups of Iraqi special forces to attack American armoured vehicles, "disabling at least two Abrams tanks and one Bradley armored troop carrier in the opening week of the war".
The second verified episode of the Kornet ATGM in combat use occurred during the 2006 Lebanon War, where the missiles, reportedly supplied by Syria, were successfully used by Hezbollah fighters to destroy up to four Israeli Merkava tanks, armor was pierced in total from 24 tanks. One of the first detailed accounts of IDF's successful capture of Kornet ATGMs on Hezbollah positions in the village of Ghandouriyeh appeared in the Daily Telegraph article, which also reported that the boxes were marked with "Customer: Ministry of Defense of Syria. Supplier: KBP, Tula, Russia". Several months after the cease-fire, reports have provided sufficient photographic evidence that Kornet ATGMs were indeed both in possession of, and used by, Hezbollah in this area.
Israel claims that Russian weapons were smuggled to Hezbollah by Syria, and Israel has sent a team of officials to Moscow to show Russia the evidence of what they say can only be Syrian weapons transfers. Despite initial public denials by the Russian officials that any proof of actual use of Kornet by Hezbollah has been presented, the Russian government in fact has moved to tighten control over the use of Russian-made weapons by the importing states, suggesting that the visit of the Israeli delegation did bear fruit, although it might have nothing to do with Kornet. On 6 December 2010, a Kornet launched from the Gaza strip penetrated the outer armour of a Merkava Mark III tank on the Israeli side of the border, but it caused no injuries.
During the fighting between Israel and Hamas in Gaza in the summer of 2014, of the 15 anti-tank missiles which launched on Israeli tanks that were intercepted by the Israeli active protection system "Trophy", most were of the Kornet type. In some cases the Kornet launchers were destroyed after the "Trophy" system had detected the launch and directed the tank's main gun to the launcher position.
In the summer of 2014 the armour of Iraqi Army M1A1 Abrams tanks was penetrated 5 times. Kornet missiles were responsible for at least some of these penetrations. In September 2014, the Iraqi Army used Kornet missiles against Islamic State militants for the first time. Iraqi security forces claimed five IS-operated vehicles along with fighters were destroyed in Diyala Province. Three Iraqi Army squadrons have been trained to use the Kornet anti-tank missile.
In the January 2015 Shebaa farms incident, Hezbollah fired some Kornet anti-tank missiles against two Israeli Humvees. A soldier and an officer were killed. In 2015 Iran succeeded in reverse-engineering the Kornet. Iran arms Hezbollah and there is speculation Iranian Kornets were used against Israel in a border attack on the 29th Jan 2015.
Reuters have found remains of used Kornet missiles in Ukraine in the context of the 2014–15 Russian military intervention in Ukraine. Since Ukraine is not a known operator of Kornet, Reuters quoted the International Institute for Strategic Studies that the missiles were most likely sent into Ukraine by Russia.
Russia has sent over 1,000 Kornet-9M133 third-generation anti-tank guided missiles to the Syrian Government who have used them extensively against armour and ground targets to fight Jihadists and rebels. In 2016, a Syrian Army Solntsepyok TOS-1 was destroyed by a Kornet missile from unknown Syrian opposition forces.
In October 2016, the ISIS-linked Amaq news agency released a video that depicts a destruction of the US-made Abrams M1 main battle tank near Mosul, Iraq. The battle tank was reportedly blown up with the Kornet ATGM. The event took place at the Qarayyah crossroa, south of Mosul.
In January 2017, the german newspaper Die Welt reported that ISIS fighters used Kornets to destroy 6 Leopard 2 tanks used by the turkish military in syria.
In attacks against civilians
On 7 April 2011 Hamas claimed responsibility for a missile strike on an Israeli yellow school bus which killed a 16-year-old boy, Daniel Viflic, and wounded another civilian (all the other children who were on the bus got out few minutes earlier). According to Israeli military spokesman, the bus was hit by a Kornet missile.