Armor: January 15, 2002


: The British Army is expected to select a new light anti-tank weapon by the end of March. This is a major $356 million contract for 25,000 missiles, and would give the winner a dominant position in the NATO and export market. The two contenders are:

@ Kestrel, an improved version of the American-designed Predator being built for the US Marines. While Predator is designed to overfly a tank and attack the thinner top armor, Kestrel includes and option (controlled by a switch) to fly in direct attack mode for use against bunkers. Kestrel would be built in British factories if selected.

@ MBT LAW, a missile built by a team including Saab-Bofors, Thales, British Aerospace, and Raytheon. This missile is expected to win. British companies build most of it, and the Swedish Army could be expected to buy 10,000 of these missiles but only if the British Army buys enough to start production. This is a top-attack weapon which flies 1m above the line of sight, firing an explosively forged warhead down into the target tank. It can also be fired in a direct-attack mode for use against bunkers. --Stephen V Cole


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