The HOT (Haut subsonique Optiquement Téléguidé Tiré d'un Tube, or High Subsonic Optical Remote-Guided, Tube-Launched) is a second-generation long-range anti-tank missile system developed originally as an effort to meet a joint German-French Army requirement, by the then German firm Bölkow and the French firm Nord, to replace the older SS.11 wire guided missile which was in service with both nations. A few years later, Bölkow and Nord merged into MBB and Aérospatiale respectively, both of which firms later formed Euromissile to design and produce the MILAN, Roland and HOT.
This firm (now MBDA), is a joint corporation of French and German defense firms. The HOT has become one of the most successful missiles of its class, with tens of thousands of missiles produced, used by no fewer than a dozen countries worldwide, and validated in combat in several wars. The missile system is also commonly mounted on light and medium armored vehicles, and attack helicopters.
The HOT entered limited production in 1976, with mass production of 800 missiles a month reached in 1978. The HOT became initially operational with the German and French armies fitted to specialized armored antitank vehicles. In addition, Euromissile was in the enviable position of having large export orders from Middle East nations at the start of mass production. This was likely due to the situation in the late 1970s where many nations did not want to rely solely on arms purchases from the USSR combined with the US Congress restrictions on the export sales of the TOW antitank missile.
In Europe, the end of the service life of the HOT missile system is in sight with the French opting to purchase Hellfire II missiles for their Tiger-HAD attack helicopters and the Germans planning to transition to the PARS 3 LR. Austria has decommissioned its HOT-carrying tank destroyers, while Spain is transitioning to Spike missiles to replace their HOT missile inventory. The HOT missile continues to be in widespread use in other areas of the world.