AT-14 (Spriggan) / 9M133 (Kornet)
Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) System
The 9M133 Kornet ATGM system was introduced in 1998 by the Russian Army and over 35,000 units have been produced since.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
Russian military industry has not rested on its laurels with regards to viable armor-defeating measures - hence the relatively recent introduction of the 9M133 "Kornet" ("Cornet"), designated by NATO as the AT-14 "Spriggan". The weapon is an Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) featuring the missile itself, a tripod support assembly, and integrated optics fit. The missile was showcased in late 1994 and, following the close of extensive testing, was adopted by Russian Army forces before the turn of the century. The Kornet system is said to vastly improve upon the capabilities of those Russian Army anti-tank missile systems currently in service though it is the Kornet's cost-prohibitive nature that has kept it from replacing earlier models outright.
The missile component is a fin-stabilized, solid-fuel rocket propellant development with relying on SACLOS (Semi-Automatic Command to Line-of-Sight) laser beam-riding guidance (the operator must continually point the designator at the target for the duration of the missile's flight envelope). It can support a HEAT (High-Explosive, Anti-Tank) or thermobaric (fuel-air explosive) warhead and weights 27 kilograms, features a length of 1,200mm and a diameter of 152mm. Effectiveness is against all manner of armor protection to date including Rolled Homogenous Armor (RHA) and Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA) blocks common to many frontline battle tanks. Detonation is by impact fuze and range is out to 10,000 meters depending on missile used with accuracy within a 5 meter radius.
In practice, the Kornet system is typically operated by a crew of two and can be fired from its traditional tripod assembly or from the cover of an armor vehicle when the launcher is fitted to the vehicle itself (as is the case with the BMP-3 series IFV). It has seen considerable combat exposure already, as showcased by Iraqi Army forces against American elements during the coalition invasion of the oil-rich country in 2003. The Kornet was credited with the destruction/disabling of several American Army vehicles including the storied M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank (MBT) during the ensuing action. Additional combat service was by Hezbollah (by way of Syria) against Israeli tanks - the missile once again claiming about a handful of enemy armored vehicles in the process. The Kornet is currently seeing action in the Russian-Ukrainian war over the Donbass region and modern Iraqi Army forces have used the missile against ISIS elements in ongoing fighting across the region (in turn, some of these weapons have fallen into the hands of ISIS fighters).
There are three notable variants in the Kornet missile system series - 9M133-1 is the standard 9M133 missile fitted with a tandem HEAT warhead while the 9M133-1 is the 9M133-1 missile fitted with a thermobaric warhead. The "Kornet-D" has been developed to combat the threat posed by slower moving land-based or aerial objects (including helicopters). The Kornet-E is the export equivalent of the basic 9M133.
Operators of the system range from Algeria and Azerbaijan to Turkey and Uganda.