9M14 Malyutka

The 9M14 Malyutka (Russian: Малютка; little one, NATO reporting name: AT-3 Sagger) is a manual command to line of sight (MCLOS) wire-guided anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) system developed in the Soviet Union. It was the first man-portable anti-tank guided missile of the Soviet Union and is probably the most widely produced ATGM of all time—with Soviet production peaking at 25,000 missiles a year during the 1960s and 1970s. In addition, copies of the missile have been manufactured under various names by at least five countries.

9M14 Malyutka
Class Missile
Type Air to Surface
Manufacturer Kolomna Machine-Building Design Bureau, KBM
Origin Russia (USSR)
Country Name Origin Year
Russia (USSR) 1963
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Russia (USSR) 1963 View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Kolomna Machine-Building Design Bureau, KBM 1963 View

Development began in July 1961 with the government assigning the project to two design teams: Tula and Kolomna. The requirements were:

  • Vehicle mountable and/or man portable
  • Range of 3,000 meters
  • Armor penetration of 200 millimetres at 60°
  • Weight at most 10 kilograms

The designs were based on the western ATGMs of the 1950s, such as the French ENTAC and the Swiss Cobra. In the end, the prototype developed by the Kolomna Machine Design Bureau, who were also responsible for the AT-1 Snapper, was chosen. Initial tests were completed by 20 December 1962, and the missile was accepted for service on 16 September 1963.

In Soviet service, the man-portable version was deployed as part of the anti-tank platoon of motor rifle battalions. Each platoon has two Malyutka sections, each with two teams. Each team has two launcher stations. One assistant gunner in each team serves as an RPG-7 gunner. The RPG-7 is needed to cover the 500 meter deadzone created by the minimum range of the missile.

It is also an integrated part of the BMP-1, BMD-1, and BRDM-2 vehicles.

Vietnam War

On 23 April 1972, the recently organized ARVN (Army of the Republic of Vietnam) 20th Tank Regiment was attacked by the NVA (North Vietnamese Army) employing the 9M14M Malyutka anti-tank guided missile for the first time. The 20th was the only South Vietnamese armor unit equipped with the M48 Patton tank. This first employment of the Malyutka destroyed one M48A3 and one M113 Armored Cavalry Assault Vehicle (ACAV), and a second ACAV was damaged.

During this engagement with the weapon, the ARVN tankers appeared fascinated by the missile's slow and erratic flight, but through experience, they soon deployed counter measures against the weapon system. Upon launching by the enemy, ARVN crewmen would fire all their weapons towards the Sagger's firing position, which would make the gunner flinch and lose control of his missile. Although the gunner could take cover away from the launch site, the joystick control wire only allowed 15 meters of clearance. During the engagement, the ARVN eventually lost eight tanks to the 9M14M missile, but had developed tactics to defend themselves against it.

Yom Kippur War

The missile was successfully employed by Arab armies during the initial phases of the Yom Kippur War. Later in the war, the Israelis adopted new tactics and learned to neutralize the Sagger threat by employing large concentrations of artillery fire to either distract or kill the Sagger operators. Other improvised methods used by the Israelis to defeat the Saggers involved firing in front of the tank to create dust, moving back and forth and firing at the source of Sagger fire. These Israeli tactics were later adopted by NATO forces to counter the threat posed by Warsaw Pact ATGMs. In total, Saggers knocked out more than 800 Israeli tanks and other combat vehicles during the war.

Libyan civil war

Rebels of the Free Libyan Army have been filmed using Saggers during the Libyan Civil War.

Syrian Civil War

Syrian rebels have also uploaded videos of their Sagger firings against government forces since late 2012.

Type Anti-tank missile
Place of origin Soviet Union
Service history
In service 1963 – present
Used by Soviet Union and others
Wars Vietnam War
Yom Kippur War
Western Sahara War
Lebanese Civil War
Iran–Iraq War
Gulf War
Croatian War of Independence
2006 Lebanon War
First Chechen War
Second Chechen War (by Chechen militants)
Syrian Civil War
Iraq War (2014–present)
Production history
Designer Design Bureau of Machine-Building (KBM, Kolomna)
Designed 1961-1962
Produced 1963
Variants 9M14M, 9M14P1, Malyutka-2, Malyutka-2F
Weight 10.9 kg (9M14M)
11.4 kg (9M14P1)
12.5 kg (Malyutka-2)
~12 kg (Malyutka-2F)
Length 860 mm
1,005 mm combat ready (Malyutka-2)
Width 393 mm (wingspan)
Diameter 125 mm
Effective firing range 500–3,000 m
Warhead weight 2.6 kg (9M14M, 9M14P1)
3.5 kg (Malyutka-2, Malyutka-2F)
Speed 115 m/s (410 km/h) (9M14M, 9M14P1)
130 m/s (470 km/h) (Malyutka-2, Malyutka-2F)
Guidance system MCLOS, SACLOS (Later variants)

End notes