Swingfire

Swingfire was a British wire-guided anti-tank missile developed in the 1960s and produced from 1966 until 1993.

Country Name Origin Year
United Kingdom - UK (Great Britain) 1966
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Belgium View
Egypt View
Iraq View
Kenya View
Nigeria View
Portugal View
Qatar View
Saudi Arabia View
Sudan View
United Kingdom - UK (Great Britain) 1966 1993 View

Swingfire was developed by Fairey Engineering Ltd and the British Aircraft Corporation. It replaced the Vickers Vigilant missile in British service. Its design incorporated elements from its predecessor the Vigilant and the experimental Orange William missile.

The name comes from the ability of the missile to make a rapid turn of up to ninety degrees after firing to bring it onto the line of the sighting mechanism. This means that the launcher vehicle could be concealed and the operator, using a portable sight, placed at a distance in a more advantageous firing position.

Besides its use on the FV438 Swingfire and the Striker armoured vehicles, Swingfire was developed to be launched from other platforms:

  • FV712, Mk 5 Ferret with 4 missiles in use with the British Army
  • Beeswing - on a Land Rover
  • Hawkswing - on a Lynx helicopter 
  • Golfswing - on a small trolley or Argocat vehicle.

Swingfire has seen combat use in the Gulf War and the Iraq War.

Type Anti-tank missile
Place of origin United Kingdom
Service history
Used by See text
Production history
Produced 1966-1993
Number built 46,650
Specifications
Weight 27 kg
Length 1.07 m
Diameter 0.17 m
Warhead 7 kg HEAT
Detonation
mechanism
Impact
Engine Solid rocket motor
Wingspan 0.39 m
Operational
range
150 - 4,000 m
Flight ceiling n/a
Speed 185 m/s
Guidance
system
Wire, MCLOS/SACLOS
Steering
system
Thrust Vector Control
Launch
platform
Vehicle

Specification

  • Diameter: 170 mm
  • Wingspan: 0.39 m
  • Length: 1.07 m
  • Weight: 27 kg
  • Warhead: 7 kg HEAT
  • Range: 150 m to 4000 m
  • Velocity: 185 m/s
  • Guidance: Wire-guided, originally MCLOS, later upgraded to SACLOS, in which form the system is known as SWIG (Swingfire With Improved Guidance).
  • Steering: Thrust Vectored Control (TVC)
  • Penetration: 800 mm RHA
  • Unit cost: £7,500 

End notes