AT-7 (Saxhorn) / 9M115 (Mongrel)
Portable Anti-Tank Missile System
The AT-7 Saxhorn was first introduced in the late 1970s and is still in use today despite the arrival of the improved AT-13 Saxhorn-2.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
The AT-7 "Saxhorn" (officially Russian designation of "9K115 Metis", Metis translating to "Mongrel") was developed to coexist alongside the AT-4 "Spigot" series of portable, anti-tank wire-guided missile systems in the Soviet Army inventory. The AT-4 was a large company level weapon system that was fielded with integrated optics, tripod and a large launch tube for the 9M111/9M111-2 and 9M111M series missiles. The weapon system went on to be used by over 30 counties around the world including many Soviet-friendly parties and was produced in the thousands. The AT-7 maintained much of the appearance of the original AT-4 but introduced a revised missile that was lighter in weight, made to modern specifications and featuring a simplified tripod assembly.
Like other anti-tank weapons of this classification, the AT-7 is operated by two specially trained personnel - one to manage the optics and launcher and the other to reload the launch tube component. In this paired fashion, transporting the AT-7 system is divided between the two personnel and up to four missiles are carried by the group. The AT-7 was traditionally issued to such two-man fire teams at the company level as a part of the Soviet motorized rifle companies, each company to tally some three launchers each.
At its core, the AT-7 breaks down into three key components - these being the optics suite, the launch tube and the mount (the latter also known as a launch post). The AT-7 projectile consists of a three-fin stabilized missile that operates initially from a booster before the rocket motor takes over after clearing the launch tube. The missile is then guided along a wire attached from missile to launcher which means that range is somewhat restrictive and line-of-sight on the target is imperative. The missile's warhead is a HEAT (High-Explosive Anti-Tank) shaped charge and weighs in at 5.5lbs. Operational range is approximately 1,000 meters with a 40 meter minimum (the latter for the safety of the firing crew). Despite the standard issue of a tripod with the AT-7 launcher, the system can be fired from the shoulder. The AT-7 launcher can also be utilized in relatively confined spaces with a safety clearance of about six meters directly behind the launcher recognized.
The AT-7 Saxhorn first entered service with the Red Army in 1979 and continues in operation even today. Production has been handled by the KBP Instrument Design Bureau. A newer, modernized version of the Saxhorn - designated as the "AT-13 Saxhorn-2" (known formally as the "9K115-2 Metis-M") - sports a revised missile that is heavier than the original design but features an increased operational range with better penetrative capabilities thanks to its larger warhead. The Saxhorn-2 entered operational service in 1992.
To date, operators of the AT-7 have included (beyond the Soviet/Russian army) Croatia, Hungary, Iran, Moldova, Poland and Syria. Hungary has been known as a producer of the weapon system for interested global parties.