9M133 missile with launcher
|Place of origin||Russia|
|Used by||See users|
|Designer||KBP Instrument Design Bureau|
|Manufacturer||KBP Instrument Design Bureau|
|Variants||9M123, 9M123-2, 9M123F, 9M123F-2|
|Weight||27 kg (29 kg with launch tube)|
|Warhead||Tandem HEAT, Thermobaric|
|Warhead weight||7 kg HEAT, 10 kg TNT equivalent Thermobaric|
|SACLOS laser beam riding|
|Two control surfaces|
The Kornet (Russian: "Корнет"; English: Cornet) is a Russian anti-tank missile (ATGM). It is a heavy ATGM intended to replace an older generation of missiles in the Russian inventory, Kornet was designed to deal with current and future generations of main battle tanks and can also be used to engage slow and low flying aerial targets like helicopters. The missile carries the GRAU designation 9M133 and the NATO reporting name AT-14 Spriggan.
The Kornet anti-tank missile was first unveiled in October 1994 by the KBP Instrument Design Bureau. The missile had 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 intended to replace the earlier 9K111 Fagot (NATO: AT-4 Spigot) and 9K113 Konkurs (NATO: AT-5 Spandrel) wire-guided ATGMs in both vehicle and tripod mounts. The missile is believed to have also entered service in the Russian army in 1994, its export designation is the Kornet-E.
The 9M133 missile itself is supersonic with a range of between 100 and 5500 meters (3500 meters at night). Propulsion is by way of a single solid fuel rocket motor with two exhausts on either side of the missile. The off-set exhausts cause the missile to spin during flight with guidance control provided by two pop-out control surfaces on the front of the missile (four additional surfaces help stabilise the missile during flight). The Kornet user laser SACLOS guidance system, the laser directed by the operator, targets need to be continually illuminated and a sensor in the rear section enables the missile to ride the laser beam to the target. The guidance system ensures protection against electronic countermeasures and operation in all climatic conditions, day or night. Each missile carries a tandem HEAT with a reported penetration of 1000-1200 mm RHA behind explosive reactive armour (ERA), alternatively a thermobaric warhead can be carried to engage soft-skinned targets, fortifications and manpower.
The 9M133 missile together with its 9P163-1 tripod launcher and 1PN79-1 thermal sight forms the 9K123 missile system, the 9K123 can be carried and operated by a two infantry crew. In addition to an infantary portable version the 9K133 the system has been integrated into a variety of other vehicles and weapons systems as either an upgrade package or 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 chassist. The guidance system of the 9P163M-1 allows two missiles to be fired at once, the missiles operating on different guidance (laser) channels.
The KBP Instrument Design Bureau has also marketed the 9K133 system as part of the KVARTET 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 turret has space for an additional five rounds and is operated by a single individual, the guidance system also allows two missiles to be fired at once. 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 a similar capabilities as the KVARTET turret but also carries a 30 mm 2A72 cannon, the turret weight is 1500 kg. Finally the 9M133 is alaos available in the BEREZHOK turret upgrade also made available by KBP.
During the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Kornets were rumoured to have been used by Iraqi forces to disable American M1 Abrams tanks. GlobalSecurity.org claims that at least two M1 Abrams tanks and one M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicle were disabled by Kornets.
The first verified episode of 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 and damage Israeli Merkava 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.