Anti-Tank Guided Missiles

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Soldiers firing an ATGM.

Anti-Tank Guided Missiles are man-portable weapons designed to allow infantry units to destroy tanks.

Typically they consist of a wire guided missile fired from a low-profile firing post. The missiles are solid-fueled and warheads are shaped charges, with some missiles using dual warheads or explosively formed penetrators. Some laser and radar guided missiles exist, and some of these have introduced fire-and-forget attacks.

Tactically they are used to both defend infantry from attack by tanks, and to actively tank hunt. The stealthiness of an ATGM team and the long engagement ranges (sometimes up to 3000m) can make it difficult for tank crews to spot the firers. A tank's main defense is to try and return fire to distract the missile's operator and/or use obscuring smoke, while maneuvering aggressively to avoid being hit. Only the best tanks can withstand a direct hit from a modern ATGM, and then only over the frontal arc.

They are also the main weapons of anti-tank helicopters. These are generally the same missiles as the ground-based systems, and are fired from a hover. ATGMs are also often mounted on vehicles such as IFVs as a defense against tanks.