Munitions / Anti-tank missiles / 3M6 Shmel

3M6 Shmel

General Facts

  • TYPE
    Anti-tank missile

  • ORIGIN
    USSR

  • NICKNAMES
    AT-1 Snapper (NATO reporting name)
    9K15 and 9K16 (missile systems using 3M6)

  • DESIGNED
    1955 - 1958 (3M6 missile)
    1957 - 1960 (2K15 system)

  • DESIGNER
    OKB-16

  • PRODUCTION
    1961 - 1966 (USSR)
    1975 - ? (North Korea)

  • PRODUCERS
    North Korea
    USSR

  • QUANTITY
    Many thousands of missiles produced, production complete.

  • UNIT COST
    Unknown

  • CHARACTERISTICS
    Good penetration compated to older anti-tank guns
    Simple system design
    Poor chance to hit due to manual guidance
    Large dead zone near launcher
    Launch vehicle position needs to be precise
    Cannot fire on the move

Introduction

The 3M6 Shmel is an early Cold War ere anti-tank guided missile of Soviet origin. It was the first of such weapons in Soviet service and is a very crude system by todays standards. In the West is was known under the NATO reporting name AT-1 Snapper. It was used on a large scale but quickly replaced by the more capable 9K11 Malyutka (AT-3 Sagger) system.

Design

The 3M6 is a very basic anti-tank missile. It has a cylindrical body with the warhead in the nose, a solid propelland rocket motor and four large wings at the rear that feature control surfaces. The 3M6 uses wire guidance. The control box features a launch button and joystick to manually control the missile in flight. The missile is launched at an upward angle and needs to stabilize before guidance is of any use, resulting in a large dead zone upon launch and the nickname Shmel, which is Russian for bumblebee.

Firepower

The 3M6 uses a single shaped charge warhead. The penetration is equivalent to 300mm RHA. The maximum range is 2 km. The dead zone is up to 600 m from the launcher. This results in a rather small engagement zone. Missile speed is rather low and flight time to maximum range is 20 seconds. The manual guidance gives the 3M6 a rather limited chance to hit, which is further reduced in bad weather, at night or when the operator is under fire.

Platforms

The 3M6 missile and associated equipment is too heavy to be man portable. In the 2K25 system the 2P26 launch vehicle is used. This vehicle is based on the GAZ-69 utility vehicle and has four launch rails facing rearwards. The improved 2K16 system uses the 2P27 launch vehicle that is based on the BRDM-1. The number of launch rails is reduced to three. Reportedly the 3M6 was also mounted on helicopters, requiring them to hover in place when the missile is in flight.

Users

The 3M6 Shmel was widely used by Soviet forces during the early Cold War era. Due to its limitation it was quickly replaced when more capable systems became available. The 3M6 was also widely exported to nations with close ties to the USSR. The 3M6 is possibly still in use with North Korea, but is otherwise considered obsolete.

Variants

3M6 missile

The 3M6 anti-tank missile is one of the earliest Soviet anti-tank missiles. It can be identified by very basic design with very large cruciform wings near the nozzle. The 3M6 uses manual command to line of sight (MCLOS) guidance with commands passed on through a wire.

3M6 Shmel: Baseline production model. No variants were developed.

TypeAnti-tank missile
Diameter136 mm body, 0.75 m wingspan
Length1.15 m
Weight24 kg
GuidanceMCLOS, wire guided
Warhead3N13 HEAT warhead, 5.4 kg, penetration 300 mm RHA
PropulsionSingle-stage solid propellant rocket motor
Speed110 m/s
Range600 m dead zone, 2.0 km maximum range, 19 second flight time to maximum range
Altitude-
Engagement envelope-
Remarks-

2P26 tank destroyer

The 2K15 Shmel system was the first operational 3M6 missile system. It is based on the GAZ-69 4x4 utility vehicle. This is a soft skin vehicle with four launch rails for the 3M6 facing rearwards. Before firing the vehicle must make a U-turn and the operator dismounts with the guidance control box. Since the 3M6 is missile with MCLOS guidance firing must be carried out while stationary.

2P26: Tank destroyer vehicle based on GAZ-69. Introduced in 1961. It can be identified by the four large launch rails facing towards the rear.

  • Specifications:
  • 2P26
TypeTank destroyer
Crew2 (driver, gunner)
Length3.85 m
Width2.17 m
Height1.97 m
Ground clearance?
Weight2.37 t combat load
Ground pressure?
WheelbaseWheeled chassis, 4x4
Turn radius?
EngineGAZ 2.4 L, 65 hp
Power ratio27.4 hp/t
TransmissionManual, 3 forward, 1 reverse
Speed90 km/h on road
Fuel?
Range400 km on road
Wall?
Trench?
Gradient?
Fording?
ArmorNo
NBC equipmentNo
Night visionNo
SmokeNo
Remarks
Armament3M6 Shmel (AT-1 Snapper) launcher (4x)
Weapon12K15 quad rail launcher
4 missiles, all ready to fire
+4 to +18° elevation
-6 to +6° traverse
non-stabilized
Weapon2-
Weapon3-
Weapon4-
Weapon5-
Weapon6-

2P27 tank destroyer

The 2K16 Shmel system is a second generation system that remedies much of the drawbacks of the earlier 2K15. It retains the 3M6 missile and associated limited capabilities, but the 2P27 launch vehicle is based on the BRDM-1 chassis. This offers basic armor protection, increased cross terrain mobility and amphibious capability. Since the three launch rails face forwards face forwards it is easier to position the vehicle for firing. Also the missiles can be launched from the vehicle.

2P27: Tank destroyer vehicle based on BRDM-1 reconnaissance vehicle. Introduced in 1964. It differs from the BRDM-1 in having a larger rear superstructure with 3 launch rails the can be lowered and covered with side folding doors.

  • Specifications:
  • 2P27
TypeTank destroyer
Crew2 (driver, gunner)
Length5.6 m
Width2.25 m
Height1.9 m (roofline), 2.65 m (firign position)
Ground clearance0.315 m
Weight5.3 t empty, 5.8 t combat load
Ground pressure?
WheelbaseWheeled chassis, 4x4, 2.80 m wheelbase, 1.66 m track
Turn radius?
EngineGAZ-40P 6-cylinder water cooled petrol, 90 hp at 3.400 rpm
Power ratio15.5 hp/t
TransmissionManual, 4 forward, 1 reverse
Speed80 km/h on road, 9 km/h in water
Fuel150 L
Range500 km on road
Wall0.4 m
Trench1.22 m
Gradient60% gradient
FordingAmphibious
ArmorSteel, between 4 and 10 mm
NBC equipmentNo
Night visionYes
SmokeNo
Remarks-
Armament3M6 Shmel (AT-1 Snapper) launcher (3x)
Weapon12K16 tripple rail launcher
6 missiles, 3 ready to fire
-3 to +18° elevation
-12 to +12° traverse
non-stabilized
Weapon2-
Weapon3-
Weapon4-
Weapon5-
Weapon6-

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