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3M6 Shmel


NATO: AT-1 Snapper


Overview


3M6 Shmel

Soldier fitting a 3M6 on a launch rail of a 2P26 tank destroyer.
Source: www.zonwar.ru - © copyright lies with original owner

Origin
Soviet Union
Type
Anti-tank missile
Entered service
Early 1960's
Status
Obsolete
Development
1955 - 1958 (3M6 missile)
1957 - 1960 (2K15 system)
1960 (Soviet state trials)
Developer
Soviet Union - OKB-16
Production
1961 - 1966 (USSR)
1975 - ? (North Korea)
Producer
Soviet Union - ZiD
North Korea
Number produced
Thousands of missiles produced
Designations
AT-1 Snapper (NATO reporting name)
9K15 and 9K16 (missile systems using 3M6)
Shmel
Russian for "bumblebee"

Description


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 today's 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.

Launch 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.

Details


Facts 3M6 Shmel
General
Origin
Soviet Union
Type
Anti-tank missile
Dimensions
Length
1.15 m
Diameter
136 mm
Wingspan
0.75 m
Weight
24 kg
Guidance
Guidance type
Wire guided
Guidance mode
MCLOS
Warhead
Type
3N13 HEAT warhead
Weight
5.4 kg
Penetration
300 mm RHA
Engagement envelope
Propulsion
Solid propellant rocket motor
Range
2.0 km maximum range
600 m dead zone upon launch
Speed
110 m/s average
Time of flight
19 seconds to 2.0 km

Launch vehicles


2P26

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.

2P27

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.

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