How is Hamas' Kornet Anti-Tank Guided Missile Used to Target Israeli Merkava Tanks?


According to an article by Globes on October 31, 2023, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are faced with Hamas and Hezbollah's use of Russian-made Kornet anti-tank missile systems (ATGMs). While this information is accurate, as evidenced by the design of the Tharallah system used by Hezbollah, the article makes a mistake in stating that the Kornet is derived from the Soviet AT-3 Sagger wire-guided ATGM.
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Russian Kornet anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) used by Hamas militants against Israeli Defense Forces (Picture source: War Noir/Twitter)


Unlike its predecessors, such as the AT-3 Sagger and AT-5 Spandrel/9K113 Konkurs, which used wire guidance, the Kornet features a laser guidance system that enables more precise targeting and improved accuracy. Created by the Russian Company KBP Instrument Design Bureau, the Kornet ATGM's development commenced in 1988, based on the earlier 9M119 Reflex-M ATGM, also known as AT-11 Sniper, and concluded with its adoption in 1998.

The Kornet, known by its Russian designation 9K135 and NATO reporting name AT-14 Spriggan, is capable of engaging a variety of targets, including infantry, armored vehicles, tanks, fortifications, and low-flying air targets in electronic and jamming environments, day or night, and in any weather conditions.

The Kornet system is available in several variants. The Kornet/Kornet-E variant is equipped with a tandem HEAT warhead capable of penetrating 1,000 to 1,200 mm of armor, including armored vehicles with explosive reactive armor (ERA). The Kornet-M/Kornet-EM, which Hezbollah employs in its Tharallah system, is a long-range version featuring an improved tandem HEAT warhead with a maximum range of 8.0 km.

In addition to the tandem warhead, the Kornet can be configured with a thermobaric warhead (9M133F-1 and 9M133-FM2 variants). Another variant includes a lighter HE-Frag warhead with a maximum firing range of 10 km.

The Kornet system comprises the 9P163-1 ground launcher, which includes the 1P45-1 sight-tracker, highly precise mechanical drives, the launch mechanism, the 1PN79-1 thermal sight, and the missiles stored in launching transporting containers.

The Kornet system can also be mounted on various vehicles using the 9P163-2 launcher designed for installation on wheeled or tracked combat vehicles. The 9P163-2 launcher features a ring mount with four guided missiles, a 1P45-1 sight-tracker, a 1PN79-1 thermal sight, an electronic module, and an operator's station, with a separate storage rack for five missiles.

The Kornet anti-tank guided missile is renowned for its high immunity to jamming of the laser beam guidance channel, has a firing range spanning from 100 to 10,000 meters, and exhibits the ability to penetrate between 1,000 to 1,300 millimeters of armor, depending on the specific variant.